In a Federal Government’s environment located at Reclamation road in Amango Polo Community Port Harcourt, Rivers State, men of the Nigerian Navy have uncovered a ship builders’ yard being used for illegal oil theft activities, popularly referred to in Nigeria as “bunkering.”
While showing journalists the illegal site on Sunday, Commodore Sanusi Ibrahim, the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, claimed five suspects were arrested at the scene.
Naval troops were immediately deployed to the site at Makoba Beach, shortly after a whistle blower revealed location of the illegal site, the NNS Pathfinder Base Operation Officer, Lt. Commander Sunday Haruna who represented Commodore Ibrahim said.
“Following intelligence tip-off, we raided the area and discovered seven different storage facilities in a secret make-shift facility at the Ship Builders Yard very close to Ibeto cement building and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
“During investigation, we discovered illegal activities which involved bunkering of illegally refined petroleum products and lifting of diesel to wooden boats, trucks and tanker trucks.
“Several drums loaded with stolen diesel and two trucks waiting to load petroleum products, among other equipment were seen at the site.
“Five suspects, including the driver and three conductors of the trucks were arrested, while others fled the scene on sighting advancing naval operatives,” he said.
Sunday Haruna said the facility which appeared abandoned has been converted by suspected crude oil thieves as a dump site for illegal refined automated gas oil.
According to him, four trucks and over 30,000 litres of gas have been impounded and persons suspected to have come to buy products arrested.
“Navy operatives are currently trailing some individuals who have been identified as sponsors and owners of the illegal bunkering site,” he maintained.
The Operations Base Officer said the illegal activity of the bunkers is an economic sabotage and dangerous to the environment.
He called on the federal government to revisit the site in a bid to contract people who will use it for legal purposes.