Twenty-five Ghanaians are among 30 suspected oil thieves in the grips of the Joint Military Task Force known as Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The suspects were arrested on Monday by security operatives on patrol at Awoba in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
According to the Commander of the 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Tukur Burutai, over 25,000 tonnes of crude oil were recovered from them. Speaking to the press in Port Harcourt, Brig. Gen. Burutai said two vessels, MT Oxo and MT Ane, being used for the illicit activity, had also been recovered from the suspects.
He stated that members of the task force were informed by some residents of Awoba community about the breach of a Shell-owned pipeline by suspected oil thieves and that they immediately swung into action and arrested the suspects in the act.
“We will interrogate all the suspects and, after that, we will hand them over to the appropriate government agency for prosecution. Since we took over the operation of the JTF, we have been fighting not only the illegal bunkering, but piracy and to some extent, some elements of militancy, which is currently at its lowest ebb,” the Leadership newspaper quoted Brig. Gen. Tukur Burutai.
“As they come up, we strike and ensure that we reduce them (oil theft and illegal refining) to the lowest level and as you can see, our efforts are paying off.”