Troops of Operation Pulo Shield of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt have seized 2.3 million litres of allegedly stolen diesel worth N3.45 million from an illegal bunker site in Rivers State.
The petroleum product was siphoned from the pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
Commander of the operation, Maj.-Gen. Alani Okunlola disclosed this to journalists at Tamunotonye Ama in Ogu-Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers.
Okunlola said that two suspected oil thieves were arrested at the bunker site, while several equipment used by the operators of the illegal bunker were seized during the raid.
“On Sept. 23, troops of Sector 2 of OPS of 2 Brigade Army Port Harcourt stormed Tamunotonye-Ama community and discovered a very large bunkering site which operates illegally.
“Troops during the raid discovered and seized eight large metal badges laden with stolen Automated Gas Oil (AGO), commonly referred to as diesel, while another 23 empty barges were also seized.
“Two of the eight metal badges have estimated capacity of seven tanker trucks each,” he said.
The OPS commander told newsmen that other items found at the site were 44 large plastic tanks, 22 illegal pumping dumps, 18 pumping machines, three speedboats, two outboard engines and a lengthy hose.
He added that 19 storage tanks filled with stolen crude oil were also seized from the site during the operation.
“Two suspects in our custody will be interrogated, while the barges have been towed to Ogoloma Jetty in Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers,” he said.
Okunlola said that investigation into the activities of the operators of the illegal bunkers had begun.
He said that the investigation should reveal how they were able to operate in the area without being spotted.
He said that under his command, the operation had increased the frequency of raids in a bid to end oil theft and illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
The site is located near the Onne Sea Port and the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone where several multinational oil and gas companies are operating.
By Pita Ochai