A joint team of Army and State Security Service (SSS) personnel has destroyed seven illegal refineries located along the creek of the River Niger.
Col. Michael Durowaiye, the new Commander of the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Onitsha on Tuesday.
Durowaiye said that the army received intelligence report from the SSS that two badges and a crude oil-laden boat, were sighted on the River Niger along Oko community in Delta and Odekpe community in Anambra. According to him, the consignment was suspected to have been stolen from Agip pipeline,
The commander said that the army immediately mobilised to take over the communities, where the seven illegal refineries were discovered.
Also intercepted during the operation were two badges loaded with 14 GeePee tanks of 1,000 litres refined gasoline each.
“As part of our operational procedures, the only thing to do is to destroy the badges, boat, tanks and other items used for the illegal refineries activities as well as their contents. My officers and men have taken control of the area to make sure that the hoodlums do not return to the communities or the water again,’’ he said.
He said that all the refineries were discovered between the boundaries of Anambra and Delta.
He said that the illegal refineries, which have been used by those engaged in oil bunkering, were first discovered by operatives of the SSS, who invited soldiers from the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha.
However, the leader of the army and SSS joint team, Lt. Col. Idongesit Akpan, said that when the army moved into the creek, the suspects abandoned their badges and its contents and ran away.
Akpan said that there was no arrest made yet and that investigation was still on.
“It appeared that the hoodlums received information that soldiers were coming and they ran away; they even removed the engine of their boat and badges and ran away,’’ he said.
Other items set ablaze included: four tanks fully loaded with refined gasoline, an empty boat as well as 100 drums of refined gasoline.