From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), yesterday, uncovered two vast oil bunkering sites in Samkiri community, a small settlement located in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State. 

A tour of the sites by the OPDS Commander, Rear Adm. John Okeke, represented by the Maritime Component Commander, Commodore Adedokun Siyabade, revealed that over 30 illegal refining camps were in operation in the area. 

Okeke said in continuation of the effort of the JTF South- South Operation Delta Safe, it is ready to rid the area of crude oil theft and other crimes in the area. He said the JTF will not abdicate its responsibility, but would intensify its operations in different parts of the country.

“You will recall that barely two to three weeks ago, some illegally refined sites were destroyed in Ataba close to Bonny, so the operation continues. So, here we are, today, in Samkiri village, around cutting Channel 1, where we have so many illegally refining sites behind a village. We have about 10 boiling points there; here, on the other side, we have more than 20, as you can see.

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“So, the JTF is not relenting in its efforts to rid this environment of crude oil theft and associated crimes  as we have always been saying. We are not going to give room for people that are bent on impinging the country’s source of income, that is why we are here today.

‘’As you can see, all the illegal cooking sites in this environment, unfortunately, are behind a community. It seems every house in the community has its own illegal refining site which is not good for the image of the country and for the wellbeing of the people. If you can observe, one of the well heads is still pumping out crude into a dug-out pit that has been done by the perpetrators of the act. 

“This operation was conducted by personnel from JTF, Nigerian Navy, Army, Air force, and all our operating paramilitary organisation working with the OPDS joint operation that is mounted to rid this environment of crude oil theft and also cooking of this crude to make adulterated AGO,’’ he said. 

Okeke vowed that under his leadership, illegality would be eliminated as he is ready to make the environment uncomfortable for criminal elements. He urged those involved in it to look for a genuine business to venture into or risk the full wrath of law if they don’t desist from illegality.