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Troops recover 1 million litres of stolen crude oil in Rivers

Troops of the Nigerian Army have seized about one million litres of crude oil believed to have been stolen from wellheads in Rivers State.

Brig.-Gen. Eddie Effiong, Commander, 6 Division Garrison, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, disclosed this on Saturday when he led journalists on a tour of illegal bunkering sites in Odagwa community in Etche, Rivers State.

He said that troops discovered the crude oil stored in eight large reservoirs following a tip-off about the operation of illegal refineries in a dense forest in the area.

“The tip-off indicated that after we had destroyed an illegal refinery around the area previously, the oil thieves regrouped and re-established another site opposite the former location.

“We found eight reservoirs and five coking pots at the new site, with each reservoir having a minimum of 100,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

“Altogether, the reservoirs at the site hold no less than one million litres of stolen crude oil, awaiting to be refined into diesel,’’ he said.

Effiong added that the division had initiated measures to curb all illegal refining operations in its four coverage states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers.

“We will keep trailing the oil thieves and continue to destroy their illegal refining sites regardless of how difficult the terrain might be.

“We are also talking to them through their village heads and youth leaders and urging them to renounce their illegal activities to pursue legitimate businesses.

“The nation’s economy heavily relies on crude oil; the more they engage in this illegal activity, the more it impacts negatively on the economy and on all of us,’’ he stressed.

Effiong noted that current economic hardship in the country should not be an excuse for involvement in crime and in criminal activities.

He noted also that the nation was already bearing the brunt of oil theft, and continued indulgence in such acts would exacerbate the situation.

“We urge those involved in these illegal activities to desist immediately and seek lawful means of livelihood,’’ he advised.

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