15 May, 2013
The Joint Task Force(Operation Pulo Shield) operating in the Niger Delta have scuttled a total of 22 illegal crude oil distillation sites and impounded a self propelled barge in a series of raids and patrol missions spearheaded by the maritime component of the JTF and the troops of 3 Battalion and 146 Battalion. 89 suspects were arrested during the course of the operations.
These details were contained in a press release made available to Beegeagle’s Blog and signed by the Media Coordinator of the JTF, Lt Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu. The statement reads:
“In a renewed effort to secure Nigeria’s oil sector from oil thieves in the Niger Delta, Operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF) OPERATION PULO SHIELD have impounded a self-propelled (V1) barge and scuttled 22 illegal crude oil distillation camps, 18 open boats, 133 plastic surface tanks and 28 pumping machines caught engaging in crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.
The self-propelled Barge (V1) was intercepted by the Maritime Component troops of the JTF deployed at Forward Operations Base (FOB) Burutu in Delta state at Latitude 0414.479N and Longitude 00702365E along Bonny Channel with uncertain quantity of stolen petroleum product. Preliminary investigations are still being conducted to ascertain the quantity of product in the barge and its degree of culpability.
“Three of the illegal oil distillation camps which had 138 plastic tanks of 7500 litres capacity each, 23 steel surface tanks, 16 pumping machines, 2 electricity generating set, 1 welding machine were discovered by patrol operatives of 3 Battalion, Sector 1 at Otumara, Obe/Jesse communities of Delta state, while 3 other camps used for illegal distillation of crude oil were also scuttled in Gbelebu village in Ovia south West Local Government Area of Edo state.
“The anti-oil theft joint operations also saw troops of 146 Battalion, Sector 2 of the JTF deployed in Cawthorne Channel 2 and Bodo West Creek scuttle 16 illegal crude oil distillation camps in Okpomakiri, K-Dere and B-Dere and communities in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers state. Fifteen wooden boats conveying about 26, 000 litres of stolen crude oil were also scuttled in these areas.
“During the entire operation, 89 suspects were taken into custody to help in the preliminary investigations in various Sectors of the Joint Task Force and will subsequently be handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies.
“Meanwhile following the developments in Okpomakiri community, a team of operatives from 146 Battalion dispatched by the JTF have carried out a sensitization visit to the community where they admonished the elders on the dangers inherent in community youths engaging in pipeline vandalism. They solicited the support of the elders of the community in curbing the menace and urged them to caution their youths to desist from any acts of illegality.”