In the oil-rich Ukwa West Local Government Area, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps’ Abia Command dismantled eight illicit modular refineries.
Mr. Ayinla Olowo, the corps’ State Commandant, told reporters at his headquarters in Umuahia that the accomplishment was accomplished as a result of the command’s continued efforts to cleanse the state of illicit petroleum product deals.
According to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN), this came just two weeks after the command demolished ten identical structures in the same location.
The illicit refineries were dismantled, according to Olowo, by officers from the command’s Anti-vandal Unit, dubbed “Operation Sting.”
“On February 5, the anti-vandal squad conducted an operation in Ukwa West to remove operators of illicit refineries from the region. The operatives demolished eight illicit refineries and unplugged all of the pipes used to steal goods from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s pipelines,” the statement reads.
“Through this act, we were able to put an end to their operations in the region,” Olowo stated.
“Their operations are having a negative influence on the nation’s economic development, describing illicit petroleum refiners’ acts as economic sabotage” he said.
“This is why we’ve stepped up our efforts to prosecute the operators. We cannot continue to allow a few criminal individuals to ruin our national asset and revenue stream,” he continued.
The state NSCDC chief expressed disappointment that no arrests had been made, and blamed the situation on the unlawful operators’ antics.
They normally station individuals at key spots in the forest to watch the surroundings and inform them if anything moves, he claims.
“So, each time we conduct an operation, they will all vanish the moment we get into the jungle,” he explained.
Olowo stated that his next goal was to find the source of the crime and individuals responsible, and that the command will work with other sister security agencies in the state to combat the threat.
He did say, however, that such a collaboration would necessitate the profiling of operatives from other agencies who would be part of a larger anti-crime operation.
He expressed his gratitude to the Ukwa West communities for their cooperation with the command.
“The people are ecstatic with what we’re doing and have been providing us with valuable information.”
“I’ve informed them that whatever information they provide us with will be treated with the strictest confidence.”
Olowo was also overjoyed that the corps’ Commandant-General, Mr Ahmed Audi, had committed to provide the command with trucks and other logistics to aid in the battle against crime.