Operations of owners of local refineries in Cutting Channel One, Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State have been foiled by the Marine Unit of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps of the state command.
This was disclosed by the spokesperson of the command, Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele.
According to Ayodele, the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, had directed the Rivers State Commandant, Basil Igwebueze, to step up intelligence and protection of all critical national assets and infrastructure, both on land and in the waterways.
The spokesperson added in the statement that credible intelligence helped the Marine Unit to carry out a smooth operation.
He said they operatives were hinted that some suspects were carrying out illegal oil bunkering activities at Cutting Channel Area, having vandalised Sahara Oil Well heads and pipes.
According to the statement by the spokesperson, they went further to syphon crude oil, and then established a local refining site in the area.
“With full determination to combat the menace of illegal oil bunkering activities on the waterways, the Marine Unit swung into action by taking charge of the environment,” the statement said.
The suspects reportedly took to their heels upon sighting the marine operatives.
According to the statement: “The state commandant ordered massive destruction of all materials used in carrying out the illegal oil bunkering and over four different refining stations have been destroyed altogether.
“To ensure that the suspects do not reconstruct the local refinery, the NSCDC Marine Personnel has also been directed to intensify patrol in the area.”
NSCDC appealed to the public to continue to give actionable information that would lead to the arrests of criminal-minded persons, even as it assured informants of overall protection and secrecy of any given information.