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Navy uncovers illegal crude refining sites ‘producing 2.7m litres daily’ in Rivers

Navy uncovers illegal crude refining sites ‘producing 2.7m litres daily’ in Rivers
February 09
22:53 2024

The Nigeria Navy says it has uncovered 15 illegal refining sites in Rivers.

Desmond Igbo, the commander of Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) pathfinder, spoke on Friday when he led journalists to the illegal refining sites at Ke community in Degema.

The NNS commander said the refinery sites  have the capacity to process 2.7 million litres of crude oil per day.

Igbo said the discovery was part of the ongoing Operation Delta Sanity recently launched by Emmanuel Ogala, the chief of naval staff (CNS), to fight oil theft in the country.

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“The uncovering of the illegal refining camps was made in line with the renewed mandate to combat and eliminate crude oil theft from the country,” Igbo said.

“Upon receiving the CNS mandate, troops were deployed, and they uncovered 15 illegal refining camps, each equipped with six cooking pots and metal storage tanks.

“Each storage tank has the capacity to hold about 30,000 litres of crude oil, culminating in about 2.7 million litres of crude oil illegally refined in the 15 sites.

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“It’s unfortunate that unpatriotic Nigerians are stealing from the country, but we are here to stop these illegal activities from continuing,” he said.

Igbo emphasised that the discovery of the illegal bunkering sites was an outstanding breakthrough in the federal government’s efforts to rid the country of oil thieves and economic saboteurs.

“The oil thieves steal the crude oil from wellheads and then proceed to refine it into adulterated petroleum products for sale to unsuspecting members of the public,” he added.

“It is unfortunate that these illegal activities have continued, considering that crude oil is where Nigeria gets most of her revenue.

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“But some unscrupulous citizens engage in this act of sabotaging the nation’s economy through their nefarious engagement in this criminal enterprise.”

The commander expressed concerns over the frequent vandalism of pipelines, noting that wellhead had further polluted and damaged the environment.

“This is not our first time of finding and destroying illegal refineries. We have been doing this day and night, and we will not relent until the criminals stop,” he said.

“As a result, we have begun engaging with the communities, and the community leaders have promised to help us in their own capacity.

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“We believe people in the communities know the people who are involved in this, and so, we are kinetically dialoguing and sensitising the youths, women, and their leaders.”

Igbo said no arrests were made during the raid as the workers in the illegal refineries fled on sighting the naval troops on several gunboats.

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