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JTF, Ex-militants Destroy 35 Illegal Refineries

JTF, Ex-militants Destroy 35 Illegal Refineries

Joint Task Force on oil bunkering and some ex-militants have destroyed about 35 illegal refineries in riverside communities in Ondo, Edo and Delta states.

JTF, Ex-militants Destroy 35 Illegal Refineries

Our correspondent, who covered the operation, observed that 18 local boats and nine barges, used by the hoodlums to carry out the illicit oil deals, were also razed by the security agents.

The operation, which lasted about six hours on Saturday, took the security operatives to the creeks of Dababilebu, Akitogbo, Adiloseimo, Obontonu and Akina-Zion communities where the facilities were located.

Soldiers from the 19th Battalion in Okitipupa, Naval officers from the Forward Operation Base, at Igbokoda and ex-militants in the employ of Gallery Security Services Limited, owned by Chief Bebopipi Ajube, participated in the destruction exercise.

Residents of the areas lamented that the hoodlums had, with their illegal activities, polluted their water, forcing them to now travel so many kilometres to get drinking water.

They also complained that kerosene produced from the illegal refineries had led to the destruction of many lives and property.

One of the victims, who is a fisherman, Mr. Aprebisekumo Epijowori, told the JTF team at Akina-Zion that the adulterated kerosene was responsible for the burns on his body and the paralysis of one of his legs.

He commended Ajube and the JTF for their efforts at ridding the communities of oil thieves and pledged to offer information whenever they resume their illegal oil deals.

Ajube, who gave N200,000 to Epijowori to seek medical treatment, appealed to other residents help rid the areas of oil thieves.

A senior Army officer, who led the operation, but spoke on conditions of anonymity, commended Ajube’ security outfit for its willingness to rid areas of all manner of crimes.

He said, “Without the support of the Gallery Security Services, the operation of the JTF would not have been successful because it was the firm that found the illegal refineries, the boats and barges used by the criminals to carry out their acts”

The Army officer promised that the exercise would be a continuous one vowing that the task force would not stop until the waterways and pipelines are safe for legitimate businesses.

It will be recalled that the Operations Manager of Ajubes Gallery Security Services Limited, Mr. Ebi Molos, had told journalists on Thursday that the firm had seized five barges loaded with crude oil at Bolowo town in the Ese Odo local Government area of the state.

He had put the figure of the stolen crude at 1.65m litres.

 

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