Yenagoa - The Military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, 'Operation Pulo Shield,' alleged that it arrested 33 suspects and impounded three ocean-going vessels involved in oil theft in the region.
The Media Coordinator of the JTF, Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Yenagoa.
He said that the foreigners arrested on board the vessels, include one Togolese and two Ghanaians with 30 Nigerians.
Nwachukwu said the vessels, which were impounded with the suspects along the Federal Ocean Terminal, Onne, in Rivers, were King I; MV Gift and MV Tiger Fish.
"The vessels, christened King I, MV Gift and MV Tiger Fish with 33 crew members, were arrested by operatives of the JTF in multiple raid operations carried out from March 1 to March 19 along Federal Ocean Terminal, near Onne, in Rivers.
"The vessels are currently secured at 2 Brigade Nigerian Army, Gun Boat Company, Onne,” he said.
The spokesman said “the suspects and samples of the products have been handed over to the Rivers State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps for further investigation and prosecution."
He said that in another operation, JTF operatives intercepted 10 barges allegedly laden with illegal petroleum products along the waterways of Delta and Bayelsa States.
According to him, the JTF also discovered and destroyed 143 illegal oil cooking camps, commonly referred to as 'local refinery.’
The camps were located at Obi Ayagbo, Otu Jeremi, Gbekebor, Esere, Ajugbo Tigbibena and Igbamatoru in Delta and Bayelsa States respectively.
Nwachukwu said that the destruction of any equipment or facility used in illegal oil activity was in line with the mandate given to the JTF.