By Onyema Nwachukwu
Operatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp in synergy with TANTITA Security conducting Anti Oil Theft Operations in Southern Nigeria, have intensified the fight against criminals sabotaging Nigeria’s oil sector, as troops of 34 Artillery Brigade on Thursday 7 September 2023 uncovered and destroyed two revamped oil bunkering camps in Egbema West of Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
The troops completely shut down the operation of the illegal refining site containing 44 drum ovens, three reservoirs of estimated 30,000 Litres capacity of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 53 sacks of AGO.
Additionally, troops of 3 Battalion in conjunction with members of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as TANTITA Security Services also destroyed 4 active illegal refining camps in Opumami Community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State. The anti oil theft operatives destroyed three wooden boats, six ovens, six reservoirs, 11 drums containing illegally refined AGO, one large reservoir loaded with stolen crude oil, 38 sacks of stolen crude oil and two tapping hoses.
In a separate sutained operation to rid the North East Nigeria of terrorism and insurgency, combined troops of 192 Battalion and 26 Task Force Brigade Garrison in conjunction with Hybrid Force, on Thursday 7 September 2023, conducted offensive operations within the general areas of Gobara, Ambaga and Madachi in Gwoza Local Government Areas of Borno State.
During the operations, troops neutralized 3 Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) and recovered one AK 47 rifle, one Beretta Pistol, 17 rounds of 7.62mm Special Ammunition, 4 rounds of 9 mm Ammunition and a Dane Gun.
Similarly, combined troops of 231 Battalion and 331 Artillery Regiment, while mounting a Stop and Search operation along Biu – Maiduguri road intercepted five BHT logistics suppliers and recovered two vehicles conveying 20 bags of maize, 11 bags of soya beans, 11 bags of biscuits, 14 bags of rice, 46 bags of corn flours and the sum of Three Million, One Hundred and Eighty Six Thousand Naira (#3,186,000) only . Suspects are currently in custody helping with further investigation.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has lauded the troops’ high level of resoluteness and alertness. He urged them to sustain the momentum and ensure remnants of terrorists and oil thieves in their areas of responsibility are completely cleared.
Views exclusive rights: ONYEMA NWACHUKWU, Brigadier General, Director, Army Public Relations, 8 September 2023.
It would be recalled that in late last month August, the Federal Government of Nigeria expressed its appreciation to Tantita Security Services Limited for their dedicated efforts in safeguarding pipelines within the Niger Delta region.
Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), conveyed this commendation during a press briefing last month while inspecting oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
Accompanied by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, and other government representatives, Lokpobiri emphasized the commitment of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to combat all forms of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the nation.
Lokpobiri said, “We’re here because of the problem of pipeline vandalisation and illegal bunkering that is going on in the Niger Delta.
“I believe that it has become an existential problem and we need to fight them. We need to fight these criminals to submission.
“What is happening here is so bad that we cannot even know the implications unless maybe when people start dying in their numbers that is when people will know that a few persons were profiting from this crime are here to wipe all of them out.
“So, as a responsible government, we have decided that we are going to put a stop to it.
“We are going to work with stakeholders to ensure that we stop all this nonsense in our society. We are not going to allow them.
“I want to also use the opportunity to express our gratitude to Tantita that has been commissioned by the NNPCL to be able to do some work but we are going to do a lot more.”
Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Adviser (NSA), affirmed that the Federal Government intends to maintain its collaboration with Tantita Security Services Limited to effectively address the issues of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta. He also mentioned that the government is planning to implement further measures to enhance pipeline security and bring about positive changes in this regard.
Ribadu said, “We have done very well to get to where we are now. We are certainly going to take more measures. So far, things are beginning to change. Give us little time and you will see things change for the better.