Yenagoa - The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, operation ‘Pulo Shield’ says it has arrested 89 suspected oil thieves in its recent anti-oil theft operations.
A statement by the task force made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa on Wednesday said that the JTF impounded a barge laden with unspecified volume of crude during the operation.
The statement signed by the JTF Spokesman, Lt.-Col Onyema Nwachukwu, said that the self-propelled barge was intercepted by the maritime component troops of the JTF along Bonny Channels at Burutu in Delta.
It said that 22 illegal crude oil distillation camps were destroyed, while 18 boats, 133 plastic surface tanks and 28 pumping machines used for crude oil theft were seized.
"Three of the illegal oil distillation camps which had 138 plastic tanks of 7500 litres capacity each, 23 steel surface tanks, 16 pumping machines, two electricity generating set, one welding machine were discovered by patrol operatives of 3 Battalion, Sector 1 at Otumara, Obe/Jesse Communities in Delta State.
"Three other camps used for illegal distillation of crude oil were also scuttled in Gbelebu Village in the Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State.
"The operations also saw troops of 146 Battalion, Sector 2 of the JTF deployed in Cawthorne Channel 2 and Bodo West Creek further destroy 16 illegal crude oil distillation camps in Okpomakiri, K-Dere and B-Dere and communities in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
"Some 15 wooden boats conveying about 26 000 litres of stolen crude oil were also intercepted in these areas.
It said the JTF’s strategy against oil theft, included advocacy and dialogue to persuade members of the communities to support it.
The statement said that a team of JTF operatives from the 146 Battalion had carried out a sensitisation visit to communities where they admonished elders on the dangers inherent in youths engaging in pipeline vandalism.