Troops of the military joint task force code named Operation Delta Safe have intensified its onslaught against crude oil thieves leading to the destruction of 80 illegal refineries in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.
A statement signed by spokesman of Operation Delta Safe, Major Abubakar Abdullah, yesterday said the troops who patrolled Obhoyohan and Ngiri Creeks and environs in Nembe Local Government Area or Bayelsa State destroyed seven illegal refineries.
He said the illegal refineries had over 150,000 litres of stolen crude oil while three suspects were arrested in connection with the refineries and that they and are currently undergoing investigation.
In Delta, he said troops who patrol around Sara Abileye Swamp in Warri South West Local Government Area and discovered a network of six illegal refineries made up of four storage tanks, two dug out pits filled with products suspected to be stolen crude oil, among other findings.
In Rivers, the troops destroyed other 10 illegal refineries around Bolo in Bonny Local Government Area in addition to 25 others earlier raided at Creek six and Ijokiri in same council area.
Meanwhile, a group of women in the Niger Delta under the aegis of Society for the Protection of Women Welfare in Oil and Gas Producing States has condemned the continued direct payment of 13 per cent derivation to state governments, describing it as illegal and unconstitutional.
The group made the assertion yesterday at their stakeholders meeting in Benin City, Edo State where they declared that most of the states in the Niger Delta region were not using the fund judiciously for the benefit of their host communities.
In a related development, a group of ex-militants yesterday threatened to resume hostilities in the oil producing areas of Ondo State if the Federal Government fails to appoint an indigene of the area to the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The ex-militants, code named the Eagle Strike Camp in Ilaje area of the state, lamented that their ethnic group was grossly marginalized in government appointments despite several entreaties by indigenes of the area.
In a statement signed by Mr. Niyi Uyimitigha and three other members of the group, they said out of the nine oil producing state in the country, only the area has no representative on the board of the NDDC since Mr. Tokunbo Ajasin was disqualified on account of being a non- indigene of the area.
First published on: Guardian NG, 08.03.17