The Statement from the Nigerian Navy said it has arrested four (4) Niger Delta crude oil thieves who specialize in illegally refining crude oil into automotive gas oil (AGO). It has also destroyed a total of 85 large drums of such AGO’s, by the operatives of the Navy and Operation Delta Safe.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas at the weekend commended youths of Ataba Community in Akwa Ibom state for providing timely information on the activities of the oil thieves which led to their arrests and destruction of the illegal AGO.
A statement from Naval headquarters regarding the arrests, signed by Commodore Christian Ezekobe, Director of Information said, “In continuation of the clampdown on crude oil thieves and illegal bunkerers, the Chief of the Naval Staff has expressed the appreciation of the Nigerian Navy to the gallant youths of Ataba Community in Akwa Ibom state for their exemplary conduct. “The conduct of the youths led to the arrest of 4 suspected oil thieves with about 70 drums of products suspected to be illegally refined automotive gas oil (AGO).
“The Youths alerted the operatives of NNS Jubilee in the state on the activities of the suspects. “To this end, the CNS urged other youths in the Niger Delta to emulate their patriotic act which is a testimony of the Nigerian Navy’s commitment to strengthen community relations in the current effort to eliminate all forms of economic sabotage and crimes in the maritime areas.
“In another development, the patrol team of NNS Pathfinder under the maritime component of Operation Delta Safe intercepted and destroyed 15 drums of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO at Iyokiri and Ache-Ama Communities of Isaka in Rivers State. “The drums were conveyed in a boat by the suspected bunkerers who fled on sighting the Naval patrol team.”
It should be noted that oil bunkering and illegal refining of crude, had been on- going in this area for decades.