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Thursday, 29 February 2024 06:59

Troops Bust Crime Syndicate With Over 40 Underground Oil Wells


 

Operatives of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army Port Harcourt has, again, uncovered over 40 illegal local wells containing crude oil in Rumuekpe community, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The troops uncovered the illegal dugout wells during a sweep and clear operation on the Trans Niger Delta Pipeline (TNP) led by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Major General Jamal Abdussalam.

Our correspondent observed during the operation that the wells, which mostly were 12 by 12 in both width and length sizes, about 40 feet in depth.


Addressing journalists at the illegal site, Major General Abdussalam revealed that oil thieves in the area had invented a technique of digging deep into the ground until they reached the crude oil, adding that it is another scope to the fight against oil theft.

He explained that the discovery is a new dimension and an eye-opener in the war against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.

“If you are not here, you may not believe what we are seeing. In this area, our troops have discovered more than 40 dugouts and these dugouts are not meant to access pipelines, they are dug out directly into the ground like well and surprisingly have access to crude oil. This is the first time I’ve seen this type of thing.

“We have been conducting in the past two days and the aim of the operation was to clear the Trans-Niger Delta Pipeline because we have been receiving complaints from SPDC of breaches on the TNP and based on that we decided to conduct an operation to sweep and clear the pipeline, it was on the cause of that operation, we came to this particular location and you journalists have seen what we have seen.


“You can see all around us are pits and very deep, you will need ladders to have access into it and at the bottom is crude oil, so they are just fetching crude just like water from a well.”

The GOC, who expressed sadness on the illicit act, said: “This is very sad and with this, we have discovered a new dimension to oil theft. It is entirely a new dimension. This is not an issue of pipeline vandalism, this one is digging directly into the ground and having access to these resources.”

He noted that he would call the attention of the authorities to the development, adding that troops would be permanently stationed at the site to halt the activities of the criminals.

“I will bring the attention of the relevant authorities to this site so that they can come and see what can be done. But in the meantime, our men would be deployed so that we can stop people from accessing the area because it is even dangerous to the people involved in this because a little fire will kill everyone conducting this dastardly act.

“It is also not good for the system. See how the whole place has been dug out. It is also very dangerous for people who are not even aware of this because they can come blindly at night and fall inside this pit and that is the end. We would do the needful. We would not get tired until we rid this area of these criminals.

He also stated that those arrested at the site are in custody as the investigation continues.

“Few people have been arrested, they are in our custody. We hope they will give us useful information that would lead to the arrest of others that are involved in this act.”

One of the arrested suspects revealed that the site is owned by some sections of the community and they are paid N40,000 for each well dug.

According to the suspect, “We have part of the Community here. It is owned by the community and not by one person. Some kindred and not all of them.

“How we dig to get oil is that sometimes, a place like here, we dig here like from 10 to 15 feet before we see gas. When we dig it and notice that the gas is rising, if we do not run out on time people might suffocate and die. So we bring them out half dead. But the unlucky ones die. When we bring them out, we pour them water and give them coke. So, after the gas comes out, the oil will come out. And another set will come to fetch it after we have finished digging it.


“It’s not only me, sometimes we could be about three to four and we are being paid N40,000 for one well,” the suspect revealed.

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