A gang of two illegal bunkers has been arrested by Troops of Operation Pulo Shield of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, recovering 2.3 million litres of allegedly stolen diesel worth N3.45 million from their bunker site in Rivers.
Maj.-Gen. Alani Okunlola, Commander of the operation, formerly known as the Joint Task Force, who disclosed the development to newsmen on Sunday at Tamunotonye Ama in Ogu-Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers state, said the petroleum product was siphoned from the pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC.
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.
He said, “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.”
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.
The OPS Commander said 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,” Okunlola added.
He also said that investigation into the activities of the illegal bunkers had begun, adding that the investigation should reveal how they were able to operate in the area without being spotted.
Under his command, Okunlola said, the operation had increased the frequency of raids in a bid to end oil theft and illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
By Patrick Aigbokhan