Benin - Men of Operation Thunderstorm in Edo on Wednesday destroyed over 50,000 drums containing illegally refined diesel products.
The drums were destroyed at Gelegele Community in the Ovia North East Local Government Council of Edo.
Gelegele is a riverine community, located about 70 kilometres from Benin City, the Edo capital.
Investigation revealed that the diesel were refined in illegal refineries located in the creeks of Ondo, Delta and Bayelsa.
The Gelegele residents wept profusely as they watched helplessly while the soldiers destroyed what they regarded as their means of livelihood.
The residents said they took to the illegal trade as the last option since the activities of oil companies destroyed their farmlands and aquatic lives.
"We don't know that it is illegal. It is our means of survival. Our land does not produce anything. Government should provide alternative jobs for us. There is nothing we can do," a woman resident in the community told NAN.
The Operational Commander of Operation Thunderstorm, Maj. Yusuf Ishaku, warned the villagers to desist from buying illegally refined petroleum products.
He told them that the security outfit would return to destroy more drums and vehicles used for illegal activities.
Yusuf warned them saying: "This business is illegal business you are doing.
"Take your grievances through the right channels. Do not put your money in this business again. This is a bunkering community as far as we are concerned.
"We will come again if you continue doing this business. Desist from it. Our next visit will be worse."
Some items recovered from the community include four pumping machines.