Port Harcourt - The Nigerian Army says it
has uncovered a massive illegal oil bunkering site located one kilometre along
the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Port Harcourt.
Brig.-Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, the Commander of 2 Brigade of
the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on
Wednesday in Port Harcourt that thousands of litres of illegally refined diesel
were discovered at the site.
He said that army operatives were immediately deployed to
the site at Makoba Beach, which is two kms. away from the Rivers State
“About 16:40 hours on Monday, we got an information that
some illegal bunkering activities were going on along Makoba Beach.
“On arrival, our personnel discovered illegal activities
which involved bunkering of illegally refined petroleum products and lifting of
diesel to local boats.
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“At the site, we found more than 5,000 drums loaded with
illegally refined diesel; four tanker trucks containing 132,000 litres of
diesel combined, and a barge with 165,000 litres of stolen diesel.
“This discovery is unprecedented because since we started
our operations 10 days ago, this is about the biggest that we have uncovered.”
Olabanji said that additional 150 drums, loaded with about
3,150 litres of diesel, were also discovered in 21 Cotonou boats.
He said that 13 suspects were arrested at the scene of the
He said that the illegal bunkering dump had not yet been set
ablaze, in line with the Joint Task Force mandate, because of its closeness to
residential buildings and the NPA.
“Our mandate requires us to destroy the site in situ, but we
cannot do this because it will degrade the environment and affect residents
since it is situated in the heart of Port Harcourt.
“Our plan is to move them to a safe location for
The commander said that preliminary investigation had
already begun to unravel sponsors of the activity, adding that the 13 suspects
would be handed over to the relevant authorities for further investigation and
Olabanji, while urging oil thieves to desist from the
sabotage of oil and gas installations, assured Nigerians that the JTF would not
rest until it rids the state of illegal bunkering activities.
“Let it be known that the army will not and will never
tolerate illegal bunkering in our area of responsibility,” he assured.
Olabanji called on the public to provide the JTF with timely
information which could lead to the arrest of oil thieves and pipeline vandals.