Nigerian troops operating in the southeastern state of Edo on Thursday said it stormed a notorious oil bunkering community in the city and destroyed over 50,000 drums of illegally refined diesel products.
State commander of the troops Maj. Yusuf Ishaku confirmed the incident to reporters, saying the operation was carried out in Gelegele Community of the Ovia northeast local government area of the southeastern state.
Gelegele is a riverine community, located about 70 kilometers from Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The troops commander said investigation revealed the diesel were refined in illegal refineries located in the creeks of southwest Ondo State as well as Delta and Bayelsa states, both located in the country's Niger-Delta region.
He said some items including four pumping machines were recovered during the operation, adding that the troop will continue to ransack the community if the residents do not desist from the illegal business.
"Our next operation will be worse than this," he said.
According to Ishaku, some of the residents wept profusely as they watched their illegally refined diesel products being destroyed. He added that some of them claimed they did not know it was an illegal business while lamenting that it became their last option since the activities of oil companies destroyed their farmlands and aquatic lives.
On Tuesday, the managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Nigeria Plc., Mutiu Sumonu, said Nigeria suffers a loss of over 5 billion U.S. dollars to illegal oil bunkering annually.
The oil worker who spoke at a forum in Abuja, the nation's capital city, said Nigeria loses approximately 150,000 barrels of oil to illegal oil theft daily, an indication that so much money go down the drain on a daily basis.
Copyright 2012 Xinhua News Agency
(Originally published June 28, 2012, by Xinhua General News Service.)