1,520 illegal refineries smashed, 755 bunkerers arrested


FILE PHOTO: Navy impounds 16,000 litres of illegally-refined oil in Akwa Ibom.

By Rotimi Ijikanmi

About 1,520 illegal refineries were destroyed while 755 illegal oil bunkerers were arrested by men of the Operation Delta Safe in the South-South region this year.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos at a media briefing to showcase the achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Mohammed also disclosed that 5,315 storage facilities were confiscated and 617 boats impounded amongst other items from the bunkerers.

“Additionally, about 74,297,425 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), 41,971,693 litres of crude oil and 88,350 litres of PMS were recovered.

“Furthermore, 174 trucks and 13 vessels were impounded while 153 assorted weapons recovered,’’ he said.

In the South West region, the minister said patrols and clearance operations by troops of Operation AWATSE led to the arrest of 46 persons for various criminal acts.

He added that many vehicles, jerricans, motorcycles and electricity generators used for illegal bunkering were seized.

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Mohammed also disclosed that the implementation of the community policing initiative of the current administration had led to the training of 25,000 constabularies in several police colleges across the country.

He said the successful officers who were trained on basic police duties, modern intelligence gathering techniques, rule of law among others were deployed to their local governments.

The minister said the deployed officers would aid in intelligence gathering and improve police visibility in their communities.

“Also, in an effort to improve the police/citizens ratio, 418 cadet officers of Regular Course 3 were successfully graduated in
June 2021 and deployed into the operational asset of the Nigeria Police Force.

“Through the Police Trust Fund, 200 Buffalo branded vehicles, bulletproof vests and protective helmets were procured.

“Also procured were drugs and medical equipment as well as arms and ammunition, riot control equipment, and combat equipment for the Police Special Weapon and Tactical Squad (SWAT),’’ he said.

The minister said the Ministry of Police Affairs had also entered into a contract agreement for the supply of police Anti Riot Equipment with Poly Technology of China through a government-to-government arrangement.

He said the equipment, which cost 44 million U.S. Dollars, would go a long way in boosting the capacity of the police to control civil unrest in the most efficient and civil manner.

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