Army refutes alleged involvement in oil theft


The Defence Headquarters has dismissed allegations that some military personnel and security agencies are involved in oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.

Reacting to questions by newsmen during the bi-weekly news conference on the operations of the military on Thursday, the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor said the allegations were unfounded.

Akpor said the major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry had an understanding of the workings of the industry, saying it was unfair to drag the military into the activities of the criminals.

He said the armed forces and other security agencies had continued to do their best to safeguard the nation’s economic assets in the region.

While giving an update on military operations in the last two weeks, the Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami said N1.2 billion was denied oil thieves by the military during the period.

Danmadami said while the sum of N664.8 million worth of crude oil was seized from the criminals, N546.7 million worth of diesel, N12.2 million worth of Kerosene and N11.8 million worth of petroleum were also impounded.

He said the troops of Operation Delta Safe in conjunction with the Department of State Service had continued to conduct kinetic operations to deny criminal elements freedom of action.

Danmadami said the intervention was essential to sustaining a conducive environment for economic activities to thrive in the zone.

He claimed the Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH on patrol at the Forupa area of Bayelsa, arrested a suspected sea robber known as Dibo, who has been on a wanted list.

“The suspect and his gang have been terrorising and robbing passenger boats along Southern Ijaw and its environs.

“Similarly, troops raided a suspected criminal hide out at Iriebe village in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers and arrested 20 suspects with large quantities of substance suspected to be cannabis sativa.

“Also, troops of Operation Delta Safe discovered and destroyed 67 illegal refining sites, 11 wooden boats, 218 storage tanks, 168 cooking ovens, and 61 dugout pits within the period under review.

“Troops also recovered 2.07 million litres of crude oil, 706,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, 15,500 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene and 67,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit.

“Eight trucks, three pumping machines, three outboard engines and three generators were also recovered, while five pipeline vandals were also arrested.

“All recovered items were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” NAN quoted him as saying.