Nigerian Army says it has destroyed 60 illegal refineries in Rivers State in the last 13 days. Army Commander 2 Brigade, Brigadier Koko Essien, made the revelation during the commissioning of a gymnasium for Army personnel in the state at the Bori Camp in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Essien said the Army had begun mop-up of all illegal refineries in Port Harcourt and its environs, adding that the operation which began on July 27, in Ogu/Bolo local government area of the state had so far discovered and destroyed 60 illegal refineries in 13 days.
He said: “2 Brigade Army Port Harcourt is conducting 30 days operation clean-up of illegal refineries in areas covering Onne, K-Dere, B-Dere, Bolo and several other areas of the state.
“The purpose of the operation is in our renewed effort to stamp out all illegal bunkering activities and illegal refineries in our area of responsibility. So far, the operation has led to the discovery and destruction of 60 illegal refineries in just 13 days.”
Essien stated that the operation had adopted the use of Swamp Buggy machine, which crushed metallic tanks, thereby making it impossible for oil thieves to revive destroyed refineries.
The Brigade Commander, who was represented by the Commanding Officer of the Brigade’s Intelligence Group, Lt. Col. Adebayo Lawal, also stated the operation was in response to renewed commitment of the Federal Government to tackle oil theft.
He said: “We realised that whenever we burn down illegal refineries with metal tanks, and some days after our troops leave the scene, the oil thieves would return and revive the refineries. The use of Swamp Buggy machines is very effective in such that the tactics make the refineries impossible to be restored.”
The Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, who commissioned the facility, ordered that all officers must be physically fit and mentally alert on the fight against oil theft and insurgency. He said as professionals, officers and soldiers must always be physically fit to enable them withstand security challenges confronting the nation.
“We know the challenges the nation is facing in the North-East and recent escalation of militancy, piracy and other criminal activities in the Niger Delta. So, personnel must be physically fit and alert to enable them be in a better position to perform their duties when deployed to operational areas to combat security challenges,” he said.
Buratai said the gymnasium built by Essien, conformed to his vision of putting in place a professionally responsive Army which would expertly perform its constitutional roles.


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