Navy Destroys “Market Square”, Illegal Crude Refining Site In Rivers

The Nigerian Navy has said it’s operatives destroyed an illegal crude oil refining site, popularly known as “Market Square” located in the creeks of Obomakiri Community in Degema local government area of Rivers State.

They also traced and uncovered a crude oil manifold belonging to an indigenous oil company, from where the illegal refiners get the product from refining.

Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Commodore Suleiman Ibrahim, who addressed journalists close to the destroyed illegal refining site, said the operation was part of the efforts of the force to curb issues of stolen crude oil and illegal refining in Niger Delta.

Ibrahim stated that the operation, which has the support of the Joint Taskforce Operation Delta Safe, was also aimed at boosting crude oil production for Nigeria.

He said: “This morning, we invited you here (Obomakiri Community in Degema LGA) so that you will come to witness the effort we are making to curb issues of stolen crude oil as well as the cooking.

“Recall that on the 1st of April, 2022, the Nigerian Navy launched Operation Dakada Barawo, which literary means ‘hunting the thief,’ because we all know that in the last couple of months, Nigeria has not been able to meet up his quota in crude oil production and this was as a result of the activities of crude oil thieves.

“Just behind you, there is where we refer to as ‘Market Square”, that is over 50 square kilometers where stolen crude were illegally is cooked. As it stands now, there is no more cooking activity taken place there.

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“Along the line, we were very curious to find out where the source of the crude oil they were cooking at the market square, were coming from.

“If you look behind us, you will see a Nigerian Navy helicopter carrying out an aerial surveillance and this was made possible with support from the Chief of Naval Staff, who has deployed resources and enough men to make sure that these illegal activities are put to a stop.

“Yesterday, our tactical riverine squadron was able to identify the source of the crude oil theft. Then, we the aid of the Nigerian Navy helicopter, we were able to deploy. When we came here, we discovered four boats but one has sunk already and few of them are still floating. We also discovered a manifold where these products are being stolen from.

“Additionally, we have gotten support from Joint Taskforce, Operation Delta Safe and South South. As it stands, we have an ongoing operation aimed at boosting crude oil production for Nigeria and at the same time, halting crude oil theft.

Nobody was arrested. We observed that as we came in through the creek and behind us, there are a lot of swamps. So, when the heard the sound of the engines of out boat, they abandoned their wooden boats or what do you call it, Cotonu boats and used the swamps to disappear. But, we are making efforts to get in touch with them.

“Those we arrested in the past, we handed them over to either the EFCC or the NSCDC. As it stands, the Nigerian Navy does not have the legal right to charge criminals to Court. We hand them over.”

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