The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, FOB, Igbokoda, has disclosed that it has discovered five illegal refineries containing a total of 365,000 litres of crude oil which are currently undergoing destruction in Araromi Sea-Side of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, Igbokoda, Navy Captain Wasuku Alushi, made this known during the tour of the illegal refining sites on Tuesday.
He said move is in furtherance of the Nigeria Navy’s fight against Crude oil theft and other related vices in the Niger Delta area, but specifically in Ilaje Local Government area.
“You will recall that a fortnight ago, the Chief of Naval Staff launched the Operation Delta Sanity with the overall goal of intensifying Nigerian Navy’s efforts in curbing crude oil theft in the Niger Delta area with a view to sanitizing the environment.
“Operation Delta Sanity basically is to sanitize the entire Niger Delta basically from the menace of crude oil thieves, illegal refiners, cultism and other related activities. Part of that mandate is why we are here today to dismantle this illegal refining site, to render them inactive.
“We are here today based of credible intelligence, you can see that this is an illegal refining site. We are basically to dismantle this site to prevent them from carrying out their nefarious activities and also to enlighten the public the activities of this economic saboteurs to the nation.
Explaining further, he said;” Inside the refining field, there are five different illegal refining ovens, each of the ovens has a 33,000 litres refining capacity as a major refining including two other 10,000 refining capacity, this implies that each of the ovens has a refining capacity of 83,000 litres of crude oil per day.
“They transport the illegally refined crude into these tanks where they apply local technology. Basically the principles of fractional distillation is what they apply basically in their own crude way and then at the end of it they come up with illegally refined HGO which they further transport, perhaps back through the sea to where the market is.
“There are network of pipes here, you can see most of the pipes are buried under the ground, they are connected from here up to the high sea where at night this locally constructed boat called Cotonou boat come to lift these products for onward delivery from where the markets are.
“We came with welders and other resource persons that will help us dismantle this well orchestrated network of engineering here perpetrated by these criminal elements so we are here to dismantle this site basically to make it ineffective.
We also came with about 6 cylinders today. You can see that the site is quite vast, this is just one, we have 3 of this sites so it will take us about 2 or 3 days to achieve. Today we came with about 6 cylinders, going forward we may have to increase the number of the cylinders that we come here with.
Explaining further, he said the strategy is in triple, “we intend to employ both the kinetic and Non-kinetic efforts towards achieving our objectives.
” Part of what we’re doing here today, is the non-kinetic effort, the idea is that either we catch them at the point of stealing the crude oil or at the point of transporting it or at the point of refining it, so, if we can not get them on ground, the strategy will also imply that we should dismantle their structures.
“It’s a network of crime that is highly organised, so part of our being here this afternoon is to apply one of the strategies which implies that if we cannot catch them at the point of stealing the crude oil, we should catch them at the point of refining or degrade their infrastructure which is what we are doing.
He described the high network of engineering at the site as a very expensive venture attributing it to bigger brains otherwise known as sponsors who invest their money illegally into the business, saying, that they are organised network of cartels.
“I think they are actually quite organized intellectually for them to be able to set up this kind of network and I think if such knowledge is being transferred into some more productive venture that will benefit them more and perhaps benefit the general public more”, he stated.
He however, appealed to the community leaders to carry out a lot of community sensitization to their wards and their children on the consequences of their actions to our common wealth and of course the criminal implications if they are arrested.
“I must confess to you that some of the community leaders have been forthcoming and even our coming here today is based on credible intelligence on what we have received but we expect them to do more both in terms of sensitization, perhaps aggressive campaign to discourage their wards from getting themselves involved in this criminal venture.
“We will not relent in our efforts in ensuring that we achieve our operational mandate given to us by the President under the renewed hope agenda and we will continue to make sure that we are ahead of the criminal elements and our message to them, is that either they desist, or they continue to incur our wrath.
“I want to advise those who are involved in this criminal venture that their time is over and it will be in their own interest to seek better ways of engaging themselves economically, but if they want to continue to pilfer our common wealth and involve in this nefarious act of pilfering our crude oil and coming to refining them illegally here, and allow Nigeria to continue to incur huge losses, we shall continue to put them on high trauma”, Navy Captain Alushi warned.