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Military uncovers over 50 illegal refining sites in Bayelsa forest

The military Joint Task Force in Niger Delta “Operation Delta Safe (OPDS)” has uncovered 50 illegal refining sites at the Biseni forest in Yenagoa Local…

The military Joint Task Force in Niger Delta “Operation Delta Safe (OPDS)” has uncovered 50 illegal refining sites at the Biseni forest in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The operation was led by the Commander of OPDS, Rear Admiral John Okeke.

According to the commander, illegal refining of stolen crude oil was carried out at the sites on daily basis before it was busted by the military.

Speaking with newsmen after the operation, Okeke stated that a large dugout open pit found in ones of the illegal refining sites can accommodate more than 10 trucks of Alternative Gas Oil (AGO), holding crude oil from where they distribute to their cooking site.

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He said he had earlier warned oil thieves in the area to desist from the illegal business or relocate to another area.

He said: “On May 9, 2024, we were at Ukwa West LGA, in Abua State bordering Rivers State, a contiguous forest bear a shared along Imo River.

“Today like I said we are not going to relent and is work in progress. We will not get tired, we will continue, we are in Biseni in Yenagoa LGA of Bayelsa. We transverse from Ahoada West LGA, of Rivers to reach this point, the most surprising thing is that this place we are now is housing over 50 cooking sites with unique arrangements.

“Why are the thieves operating in this area decided to be so smart by connecting what is called theft line made of two inches pipe, a galvanized pipe connecting directly to supply oil line on the road, from a distance of one kilometer.

“Then they have a lot of funny connections where they have various arrangement of connection, multiple connection where each of the thief get their supply. From a large dugout open pit that can accommodate more than 10 trucks of AGO, holding crude oil from where they distribute to their cooking site.

“Look at the thick forest, we are now, you can never imagine that such serious crime is going on here, if not for the good spirited individual that volunteer information, we wouldn’t have known,” he said.

In his address at the inauguration of the New Headquarters Naval Training Command in Ebubu community, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, last month, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, lamented that Nigeria loses an estimated 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day to oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and other forms of criminality.

Abbas stated that the menace has culminated in revenue losses estimated at N1.29 trillion annually.

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