The Nigerian Army has announced the successful arrest of six laborers operating at an illegal oil refinery capable of producing approximately three million liters of adulterated petroleum products within a few weeks.
Situated across 40 plots of land, the clandestine refining site was strategically concealed beneath dense forest cover to avoid detection from aerial surveillance.
Major-General Jamaal Abdussalam, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt, led journalists to the expansive site located in Odagwa community, Etche Local Government Area of Rivers.
Investigations revealed that the operators of the illegal facility were pilfering crude oil from a wellhead situated at Imo River 2 Oil and Gas Oil Field in the community.
“This operation was carried out based on credible intelligence that led us to this location, where we uncovered numerous illegal activities,” said Abdussalam.
During the raid, troops discovered over 14 reservoirs, each with the capacity to store over 200,000 liters of crude oil at the illegal refinery. Additionally, about 49 boilers capable of processing crude oil, as well as cables, tools, and a network of pipes connected throughout the area, were found.
Abdussalam expressed concern about the magnitude of the crude oil theft, stating that it surpassed Nigeria’s daily crude exports. He emphasized the detrimental impact of crude oil theft on the nation’s economy and the living conditions of its people.
“The main players have not yet been caught, but now that we have uncovered this place, we will conduct proper intelligence and investigations to apprehend the operators,” assured Abdussalam.
The army chief issued a stern caution to individuals involved in illegal bunkering of petroleum products, urging them to cease such criminal activities immediately and embrace legitimate means of earning a living.