The Nigerian Navy has successfully excavated and dismantled oil equipment believed to be linked to an illicit oil syndicate operating on Oil Mining Lease-18 in Elem Krakama Creek, located in the Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
According to the Navy, the equipment used for siphoning crude oil was specifically targeted at Oil Well 17, which is operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL). The discovery of these illegal activities was made by the Navy’s patrol helicopter on July 11, 2023.
The Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, Suleman Ibrahim, a Commodore personally led journalists to the site on Saturday, highlighting the significance of the operation. He revealed that the dismantling process involved uncovering multiple pipelines that had been buried underground.
Additionally, Ibrahim confirmed the arrest of four individuals engaged in illegal oil bunkering in a separate incident. The collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and the NNPCL facilitated the excavation, and Ibrahim expressed astonishment at the high level of expertise demonstrated by the suspects involved.
Ibrahim emphasized that such extensive oil theft could not have been executed by amateurs, further noting that the syndicate members were highly sophisticated individuals with advanced technical knowledge.
During a press briefing, he stated, “We came here with members of the NNPC OML 18 Resources, they are the owners of the well. We came with our heavy equipment to make sure we dismantle the illegal structures that are being used to siphon crude illegally.”
The Navy’s operation successfully recovered numerous pipes from the wellhead, effectively disconnecting them from their illegal connections.
Ibrahim expressed his surprise at the sophistication demonstrated at the site, stating, “As an individual, what I have seen here is way beyond what I have seen elsewhere. The level of sophistication is beyond our imagination. The individuals involved had taken their time and done a lot of measurements and did welding on-site.”
The Navy commander assured the public that the syndicate responsible for the illegal activities would be tracked down, arrested, and prosecuted accordingly. He also revealed that technical staff from the NNPC OML18 had assessed a second location, Kala Ekweama, and confirmed that work would commence soon to rectify the compromised areas.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy has apprehended four suspects connected to oil bunkering. The commander disclosed that these individuals, residing in Borikiri in Port Harcourt, originated from the Southern Ijaw axis of Bayelsa State.
During interrogation, the suspects admitted to receiving payment of N20,000 for transporting diesel from the creek to Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.
Ibrahim confirmed that the four suspects would be handed over to the appropriate agency for prosecution, ensuring that justice is served in this case of illegal oil activities.
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