Yenagoa - The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, operation 'Pulo Shield', has called for the support of community leaders in its efforts to stamp out oil theft in the region.
This is contained in a statement signed by JTF’s Media Coordinator, Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, in Yenagoa on Sunday.
The statement stated that the JTF Commander, Maj.-Gen. Bata Debiro, made the call at an anti-oil theft advocacy and security assessment tour to Bonny Island.
It stated that Debiro addressed a group of community leaders and youth drawn from Lagosgbene and the surrounding communities of Bonny Anchorage in Rivers.
Debiro said oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism and illegal refineries were crimes that not only threaten the economic security of Nigeria, but also degraded the environment and aquatic life.
He said that the fight against oil theft required combined efforts.
He urged the youth of the Niger Delta to join hands with the JTF to eliminate the menace of oil theft by giving the necessary support and cooperation to JTF operational bases in and around their communities.
It also quoted the commander as saying that the JTF seized three self-propelled barges and a tug boat, during a recent patrol of the creeks and waterways in the Niger Delta.
"Two of the barges MV LAMME and MT FUFUSWAY were laden with 100 000 litres and 500 000 litres of illegally distilled Automated Gas oil (AGO) sourced from stolen crude oil.
"The barges, which have eleven crew members on board, were intercepted around Bonny Anchorage in Rivers and are now in safe custody of Sub Sector V.
"The crew members on board both barges have been conveyed to Headquarters Sector II in Port Harcourt for further investigation,” it said.