Nigerian Army destroys illegal refineries in Niger Delta

David Adekunle, Lagos

The Nigerian Army has destroyed 143 illegal refineries during its Operation Crocodile Smile in the Niger Delta region.

Similarly, the Nigerian Navy said that it has arrested four crude oil thieves who specialise in illegally refining crude oil into automotive gas oil, AGO, while 85 large drums of AGOs were destroyed by the operatives of the Navy and Operation Delta Safe.

Speaking in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, the Brigade Commander, 2 Brigade, Brig-General Hassan Hamisu stated this while fielding questions from newsmen after a Jumat service at the barracks to mark the nation’s 56 independence anniversary.

Commending the gallantry of soldiers during the Crocodile Smile operation which has ended in the region, he said that it was carried out by soldiers of 2 and 4 Brigades.

“I conducted the Crocodile Smile operation in some states in the South-South. Success was recorded in the area of destruction of criminal camps and illegal refineries.

We have not rested since the operation. We shall continue to partner with other security agencies to ensure a safer environment,” he said.

On his part, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas, commended youths of Ataba Community in Akwa Ibom State for providing timely information on the activities of oil thieves which led to their arrests and destruction of the illegal AGO.

A statement from Naval Headquarters by Commodore Christian Ezekobe, Director of Information, said, “In continuation of the clampdown on crude oil thieves and illegal bunkerers, the Chief of the Naval Staff has expressed the appreciation of the Nigerian Navy to the gallant youths of Ataba Community in Akwa Ibom State for their exemplary conduct.”

“The conduct of the youths led to the arrest of four suspected oil thieves with about 70 drums of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO.

“The youths alerted the operatives of NNS Jubilee in the state on the activities of the suspects,” the statement read in part.