Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A group of illegal oil bunkerers have been busted in Bille Kingdom, Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
According to investigations, Labrador security outfit, which carries out surveillance of oil pipelines from Bayelsa to Rivers State, acting on a tip-off, blew the cover of the illegal oil bunkerers.
Findings indicated that the surveillance team from Labrador stationed at Unit 3, Bille Kingdom, got information of illegal oil bunkerers scouting oil and carrying out other bunkering activities at Ke waterways alerted operatives of Joint Task Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
A combined team of JTF troops and NSCDC operatives stormed the place but the illegal bunkerers sighting them dived into the water to escape.
Two dug out boats and three badges loaded with refined diesel were recovered and set ablaze in line with the directive of the leadership of JTF to destroy all illegal oil refinery materials
A security source said Labrador security outfit has been helpful in their fight against crude oil theft, noting that after what seemed like a lull in the activities of crude oil theft some of them have returned.
“The Labrador security outfit at Bille Kingdom with a combined team of JTF and NSCDC stopped illegal oil bunkering activities at Ke Waterways, Degema Local Government Area. Two dugout boats loaded with illegally refined diesel were recovered and set ablaze. Three big badges loaded with illegal refined diesel were also uncovered where they were hidden and have been moved to Bille,” the security source said.
A non-governmental organisation, Stakeholder Democratic Network (SDN), had recently in a report: Dirty diesel, petrol, and kerosene; the toxic trio for Nigerians’ lungs and livelihoods raised alarm over the danger posed by illegal oil refining and the continued patronage by the people.