The Abia State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) says it has destroyed eight illegal refineries operating in the Ukwa West local government area.
This was made known by Ayinla Olowo, the state commandant of the corps at the command’s headquarters in Umuahia, the state capital during a Press Conference.
According to Olowo, the illegal refineries were destroyed by operatives of the anti-vandal unit of the command, codenamed “Operation Sting.”
“The anti-vandal unit carried out an operation in Ukwa West on February 5, to get rid of operators of illegal refineries in the area.
“The operatives destroyed eight illegal refineries and disconnected all the pipes with which they siphoned products from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s pipelines, by this act, we have succeeded in stopping their activities in the area.”
He further condemned the activities of illegal petroleum refiners which he described as economic sabotage, noting that “their activities are having a negative impact on the nation’s economic prosperity”.
According to him, the defence corps has intensified to crack down on the operators.
“We cannot allow a few criminal elements to continue to destroy our national asset and source of revenue,” he added.
He, however, expressed dismay that the command had yet to make any arrests and blamed the development on the antics of the illegal operators.
Olowo stated that the criminals usually kept people at strategic points in the forest to monitor the environment and alert them whenever there was any movement.
“So any time we carry out an operation, the moment we arrive at the forest, they will all disappear,” he said.
He, however, said his team will work towards uncovering the root of the criminal act and those behind it and that the command would partner other sister security agencies in the state to tackle the menace.
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Olowo, however, noted that such collaboration would require the profiling of operatives from other agencies that would form part of a combined operation against the crime.