There has been renewed battle against oil thefts in the Niger Delta region which were estimated at about 2 billion US dollars in 2022 and which have affected government revenues almost bringing the economy to its knees.
So far, the military joint task force code-named Operation Delta Safe has destroyed over 1,800 illegal oil refining sites and no fewer than 37 militant camps across the Niger Delta It said the operation was carried out in a bid to address oil theft and illegal bunkering.
While parading seven suspects for allegedly concealing weapons in wooden boats conveying other cargoes along the waterways, the OPDS’s Commander, Rear Admiral Aminu Hassan, disclosed that a total of 699 suspects were arrested in the region during the year in connection with various crimes.
The JTF commander noted that in the course of the military operation, over N53bn was saved in terms of cost from crude oil, diesel, kerosene, and petrol “with 699 suspects arrested, 37 militants and sea robbers’ camps destroyed”.
He said the joint task force also resolved 188 disputes involving multinational oil companies and host communities through civil-military relations and mediation efforts.
He said, “The joint operation conducted several operations in the South-South region in the outgoing year to ensure safe and peaceful operation of the oil and gas industry in the Niger Delta region as well as safeguard the people of the area.
“The mandate of the task force includes protection of oil and gas facilities, anti-crude oil theft operations, clearance of militants and sea pirates’ camps, and non-kinetic conflicts resolution. In the course of operation, over N53bn was saved in terms of cost from crude oil, diesel, kerosene, and petrol with 699 suspects arrested, 37 militants, and sea robbers’ camps destroyed.”