Military personnel under the ‘Operation Delta Safe’ (OPDS) have intensified the destruction of illegal refineries along the Delta creeks with the use of a specially-designed amphibious swamp buggy in order to have unhindered access to the remote areas.
The OPDS team made up of the Nigerian Navy, Army, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as the Custom Service personnel, was led by OPDS Maritime Component Commander, Commodore Adebamiji Ololowo.
The team’s destination was the notorious Bennett Island in Warri South Local Government Area, where it destroyed over 20 metallic tanks and dozens of plastic storage tanks as well as pipes and other equipment used in perpetrating the illicit oil business.
Speaking with newsmen during the exercise, Commodore Ololowo noted that the Swamp buggy operation has been activated by the military in order to ensure maximum enforcement in its ongoing war against illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
He explained that the amphibious swamp buggy was specifically designed as a purpose-built or modified motor vehicle used to move around difficult terrain or waterlogged swamp.
The Commander disclosed that the essence of the swamp buggy was to make it difficult for the perpetrators to go back to the illicit business after destruction exercise as it had been the practice in some areas.
While admonishing residents of the various communities where the criminality is being perpetrated to join with the military to rid their areas of crimes by volunteering information, the Naval Boss noted that the operation would be a continuous ond as the Navy command could no longer condone the criminal acts.
According to him:
“Instead of just burning the illegal refinery camps, we should also destroy their equipment and anything that will make it easy for them to come back.
“There are two advantages to what we are doing with the swamp buggy. After we have destroyed their tanks and others, it will be very difficult for them to start the business all over again.
“We are not only crushing their equipment, we are also going to be monitoring their activities with our drones.
“You can see the colossal damage this evil act has caused to the environment and it is going to take a long time for the soil to recover,” he said.
The Commander urged the perpetrators to seek for a better and meaningful form of livelihood rather than engaging in illegal activities.
He reminded the perpetrators that illegal activities were counter-productive to the economy and adversely effected the ecosystem.
Ololowo also said that the OPDS would go after the sponsors of the illegal activities through its intelligence networks.
“You can recall that sometimes in 2017 year, our operation was to get the sponsors of these illegalities because the people you see here are just field workers.
“If we had gotten the sponsors of these illegal activities, we will not be doing what we are doing here today,” he said.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS DELTA, had in 2017 carried out similar operations at Isara creeks, Warri South-West, and some other creeks in Warri South.