Nigerian troops have continued to track illegal oil operations in the South-South and South-East geopolitical zones by conducting land, maritime and air operations as well as raiding criminal enclaves.
In the process, a total of 51 illegal oil refining and bunkering sites were discovered and destroyed by troops of Operation Delta Safe within two weeks.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig. Gen. Bernard Onyeuko disclosed this at a media briefing on ongoing military operations across the country in Abuja on Thursday.
Onyeuko noted that troops also impounded vessels as well as other equipment and items used for illegal bunkering activities and on some occasions, arrested criminal elements.
"The sites cumulatively had a total of 76 ovens, 52 cooking pots/boilers, 22 cooling systems, 102 reservoirs, 16 large dugout pits and 513 storage tanks as well as drums and sacks laden with illegally refined oil products.
"23 criminal elements were arrested and 73 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 5 cartridges, 2 AK-47 rifles, one double-barrel gun, one pump action gun and 3 locally-made pistols among other items were recovered in the course of the operations in the Zone.
"Consequently, a total of 317,450 litres of illegally refined AGO, 8,000 litres of DPK and 159,000 litres of stolen crude were recovered in the course of the operations.
Onyeuko said these were in addition to several other vehicles and boats loaded with sacks, polythene bags and jerry cans of illegally refined oil products and equipment used for illegal oil production as well as illicit drugs that were impounded by troops within the period.
"Significant results were recorded in Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Imo, Abia, as well as Oron River and Calabar Metropolis in Cross River States.
The military spokesperson added that in Operation Whirl Stroke, troops sustained aggressive postures by executing kinetic and non-kinetic operations in the North Central Zone.
He said four kidnapped civilians were rescued, 15 criminal elements arrested while 22 arms, including AK-47 rifles, MGs, and locally-made pistols and 461 rounds of ammunition were recovered during raid, clearance and ambush operations in Kastina, Taraba and Nasarawa states.
Onyeuko noted that as part of its civil-military relations efforts, troops held peace and security meetings with community and youth leaders as well as other critical stakeholders and security agencies at the local government secretariat at Igumale town in Benue State and Lau Police Division in Lau LGA of Taraba State.
He also emphasized that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, on Monday 4 October 2021, flagged-off 3 different exercises of the Nigerian Army at Ovie-Emene in Enugu East LGA of Enugu State.
He said the exercises were in accordance with the Nigerian Army’s routine annual field training exercises designed to forestall criminalities across the country.
Consequently, the newly launched exercises, codenamed; Exercises GOLDEN DAWN, ENDURING PEACE and STILL WATER are to run concurrently in the South West, South-South, South East and North Central Zones of the country, precisely in the 2 Division, 6 Division, 81 Division and 82 Division.
The exercises are designed to checkmate all forms of security vices as the yuletide season approaches, to enable persons to enjoy hitch-free celebrations; it will also serve as platforms for participating troops to sharpen their skills in the conduct of internal security operations.
Onyeuko stressed that the Armed Forces and other security agencies will not relent nor rest on its oars in the fight against criminalities in all parts of the country.