We arrested 699 suspected oil thieves, dismantled 1,883 illegal refineries in Niger Delta: Joint Task Force

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The Joint Security Task Force operating in the South-South, Operation Delta Safe, has arrested 699 suspects for various crimes in the Niger Delta region in 2022.

This was disclosed by the task force commander, Rear Admiral Aminu Hassan, while briefing journalists on his cammand’s 2022 activities on Friday at Igbogene, Yenagoa.

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Mr Hassan said 699 suspects were arrested, 90 assorted illegal weapons and large calibre ammunition seized and 1,883 illegal oil refining sites dismantled.

He added that over 1,800 illegal oil refining sites and 37 militants and sea pirates camps were also destroyed across 12 states in the region within the period under review.

The commander said in the process, the operation was able to save over N53 billion worth of crude oil, diesel, kerosene and petrol.

He added that seven suspects were arrested in possession of illegal arms.

According to the commander, the feat was recorded following several operations conducted to safeguard oil and gas operations and installations in the Niger Delta, as well as people of the region.

The operation was also extended to prevent crude oil theft, clearance of militants and sea pirates’ and non kinetic conflicts resolution methods.

About 188 disputes involving multinational oil companies and host communities were also resolved through civil-military relations and mediation efforts.

Meanwhile, Mr Hassan has announced the arrest of seven suspected gunrunners.

He said that the suspects were arrested on waterways for allegedly concealing weapons in wooden boats covered with other cargoes.

Mr Hassan said he had met with the leadership of Maritime Union, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Road Transport Employers Association and Timber Dealers Association urging them to be vigilant and report such illicit activities to the joint security task force.

Chairman of the Bayelsa Maritime Union, Ogoniba Ipigansi, in an interview with reporters, gave an assurance that the unions would cooperate with the security outfit.

Items recovered from the seven suspects include AK 47 rifles, bullets, cash, mobile phones and Automated Teller Machine cards.

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