By Onoyume Onoyume
The Nigerian Army has smashed one of the biggest camps operated by oil thieves in Delta State, destroying about 60 Cotonou boats, 150 storage tanks, 700 drums used by the oil thieves for their illicit trade.
Commander Sector I, Operation Delta Safe, OPDS, Warri, Delta State, Colonel Baba Manu-led his men with two swamp boggy into the camp covering about 20 kilometres located between Ogevughe and Otu-Jeremi in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.
Vanguard gathered that the vandals who mostly vandalized oil facilities around OML 34 fled the camp on sighting the soldiers driving into the place.
The camp according to community folks was the heart of illegal oil refining activities.
“It was a community of its own with all forms of illegal oil activities taking place here. The activities of the oil thieves have resulted to severe pollution of our environment
“At night before the soldiers came to chase them away, you saw thick and poisonous smoke from all sides of the camp going into the air. The smoke was coming from the illegal refining of stolen crude,” a community source said.
Some of the community members who spoke under condition of anonymity said, “We suggest that the soldiers should stay a little more time in the area to stop the hoodlums from resuming their operations. Once they are sure that the soldiers have withdrawn they will resume their activities again.”
Some of the soldiers said items destroyed during the operation included machines used by the oil thieves to vandalize oil pipelines.
When contacted, Spokesman 6 Division of the Nigerian army, Col Aminu Ilyasu said there will be no hiding place for oil thieves, adding that they had become a threat to the national economy and the nation’s oil assets.