The Defence Headquarters says troops of Operation Delta Safe and other subsidiary operations have discovered and deactivated more than 70 illegal refining sites in the Niger Delta region in the last two weeks.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, made this known at a bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces, on Thursday in Abuja.
Danmadami said the troops, in the conduct of operation Octopus Grip, discovered and destroyed 57 illegal refining sites within Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers.
He added that 35 wooden boats, 304 storage tanks, 172 cooking ovens, 12 dugout pits, five drums, two reservoirs, two illegal bunkering camps and six illegal bunkering boats were also destroyed.
He said the troops also recovered 34,547 barrels of stolen crude oil, 650,000 litres of diesel, 5,000 litres petrol, 10,000 litres of kerosine, seven pumping machines, seven vehicles, five motorcycles, one double barrel gun, among other items.
According to him, five pipeline vandals were arrested during the operations.
Danmadami said the troops of Operation Dakatar Da Barawo also discovered and destroyed 11 illegal refineries with 107 metal storage tanks and five wooden boats during the period.
He added that 58 dugout pits, 38 ovens, six fibre boats, 28 reservoirs, 15 jerrycans, two pumping machines, 20,000 barrels of crude oil and 167,900 litres of diesel were also destroyed.
“Cumulatively, within the weeks under review, oil thieves were denied a total of 54,547 barrel of crude oil, 817, 900 litres of diesel, 5,000 litres of petrol and 10,000 litres of kerosene amounting to the sum of N2.4 billion,” he said.
The defence spokesman said the troops, in conjunction with operatives of the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), tracked and raided criminals’ locations and arrested two Eastern Security Network (ESN) kingpins at Oyigbo in Rivers, on Oct. 31.
He said that troops recovered 2 Ak47 rifles, 285 rounds of 7.62mm special, 84 rounds 7.62mm NATO, among other weapons.
In the South East, Danmadami said the troops and other security agencies had sustained efforts to tackle the zone’s insecurity.
He said the troops also conducted anti-illegal bunkering operation at Ama-Hausa Arugu and Umuokabia Ugodo villages in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo during the period.
He added that the troops discovered and destroyed illegally bunkered oil in 79 sacks containing 50 litres AGO each, eight gallons of 25 litres, three nylons and three drums containing refined products among others.