New strategy would discourage the revival of illegal refineries
The Joint Task Force, JTF, operating in the Niger Delta on Sunday said that it had adopted a new strategy in destroying illegal oil refineries in the region.
The Commanding Officer of 29 Battalion of the 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Olusegun Oladuntoye, said this during the destruction of an illegal refinery in Alakiri, Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers State.
He said that the strategy involved the deployment of a “swamp buggy” machine, which crushed metallic tanks, thereby making it impossible for oil thieves to revive destroyed refineries.
Mr. Oladuntoye said that the JTF had redoubled its efforts to eliminate illegal refineries and attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta area.
“Based on intelligence reports; we have discovered that the war against illegal oil bunkering cannot be completed without thorough destruction of illegal refineries. We have realised that whenever we burn down illegal refineries with metal tanks, some days after our troops leave the scene, the oil thieves would return and revive the refineries,” he said.
He said that the swamp buggy machines totally crushed the metal tanks and made it impossible for criminals to revive the refineries.
“This method will go a long way in discouraging oil thieves from reviving destroyed and crushed illegal refineries because it would take them several months to revive the refineries,” he said.
Mr. Oladuntoye said that as well as the new approach to discourage the revival of destroyed refineries, troops would carry out a 24-hour surveillance patrol of the areas. He said the operation would continue until all the illegal refineries in the area were completely destroyed.
He, however, urged the public to provide the JTF with timely information that would lead to the apprehension of oil thieves and pipeline vandals.
The governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, on January 3 said that Nigeria loses about 40, 000 barrels of crude oil to thieves daily. This implies about N640 million daily, stressing that if pragmatic efforts were not made to stamp out crude oil theft, the country would lose about N233 billion annually.