YENAGOA – Troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta also known as Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) have arrested a total of 553 suspected oil pipeline vandals.
They also destroyed 988 illegal refineries and 15 militants/pirates’ camps.
Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade, Commander of the OPDS, stated this on Saturday, during the flag-off of the security outfit’s ‘Operation Safety Check 6’, at the Alakiri Camp in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Akinrinade also disclosed that the troops have stopped no fewer than 313 sabotage attempts on crude oil pipelines in the region.
The incidents, which accounted for 71.6 per cent of acts of vandalism on the pipelines, according to the OPDS Commander, were recorded between the months of January and September 2019.
He said the effort was aimed at increasing the tempo of operation in the joint area responsibility as the year gradually comes to an end.
According to him, the operational successes recorded so far must be sustained and improved upon on in order to deny criminal elements the space within the joint task force area.
“It could be recalled that OPDS successfully conducted Safety Checks 1-5 with tremendous achievements.
“Safety Check 5 which was conducted from March 19 to September 2019 resulted in the arrest of about 553 suspects, destruction of 988 illegal refineries and 15 militants and pirates’ camps.
“Also, OPDS impounded items used to facilitate economic crimes which include 22 vessels, 42 barges 210 outboard motor engines and 410 other types of boats. Additionally, OPDS arrested 56 tanker-trucks and 313 other vehicles.
“Statistics available reveals that OPDS averted over 313 infractions on Trans Niger, Trans Ramos and Trans Escravos Pipelines which is 71.6 percent of the total attempts made on the pipelines between January and September 2019.”
Akinrinade, however, commended the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and the management of Eroton Exploration and Production Limited for their collaborations with the task force, stressing that the JTF would continue to leverage on such support towards fulfilling the mandate of the OPDS.
Akinrinade also called on the people to engage in legitimate businesses and avoid acts of illegality, saying it does not pay.