Jessica Tamaraduoye, Yenagoa
The anti oil theft squad of the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, has intercepted and arrested a group of oil thieves who use sewage trucks to transport illegally acquired crude oil.
The suspects were in one of such sewage trucks of 12, 000 litre capacity, which they had loaded with stolen crude when they were intercepted in Ibada-Amukpe community in Sapele local government area of Delta State.
The coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre of the Joint Task Force, Mustapha Anka, a lieutenant colonel, said in a statement that the suspects declared the sewage truck was carrying waste and heading to a disposal dump but their claim was discovered to be false.
The suspects were immediately arrested and the truck impounded with the product and preliminary investigation has already commenced following which they would be handed over to prosecuting agency.
Anka recalled that the task force had recently discovered illegal oil dumps buried inside shrines, sitting room and septic tanks.
In a similar development, operatives of the JTF have arrested a 33,000 litre capacity truck laden with substance suspected to be stolen Automated Gas Oil, AGO, in the Bayelsa and River States axis of the Niger Delta region.
Upon sighting the soldiers, the suspected oil thieves abandoned the truck with Lagos registration number RRP 132 XA, and fled into the bush.
The campaign coordinator said both the trucks and its contents have since been destroyed.
The task force also extricated 17 illegal oil camps along freedom creek where oil thieves operate with 6 Cotonou boats, 13 crude oil reservoir and a boat filled with suspected stolen oil.
Troops from the JTF also raided eight illegal bunkering sites at Opumani creek and Adudu in Warri South local government area of Delta State where they discovered 10 pumping machines, 17 cooking points, three illegal storage tanks and eight metal tanks which the oil thieves in the area operate with.
Other items discovered at the sites include 13 Cotonou boats and illegal bunkering hoses. The sites and equipment were destroyed in line with the taskforce’s mandate in the Niger Delta.