A combined team of the Navy, Police and members of the Akuku Toru Local Government Area (AKULGA) security outfit, Akulgaspac, have raided and destroyed six camps used for Illegal Oil bunkering in Abisse Creek.
The operation which was led by the Executive Chairman of the Council, Hon. Rowland Charles Sekibo on Thursday, also saw the confiscation of several items used for the nefarious activity.
The spectacular raid which lasted several hours, saw the deployment of six gun boats by the NNS Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, including four open boats used by the local security, Akulgaspac.
As the fully-armed security operatives approached the Abisse Creek, a distant nautical miles away from Abonnema, headquarters of AKULGA, sporadic shots were fired, warning the boys of its combat readiness.
In one of the camps, hot steam oozed out from two large kerosene tanks, apparently produced minutes before the invasion.
Providing adequate cover to the Akulgaspac boys who were armed with axe and cutlasses, tanks and ovens were cut open as water and crude products spilled.
At one corner of the makeshift houses, plates of freshly prepared ‘eba’ and soup were sighted, suggesting a hurried escape by the boys.
Also discovered were two live alligators, firmly tied heads and tails, and abandoned by their captors who could not eacape with them due to the sudden swoop on the camps.
A zealous Akulgaspac boy would however, not let the opportunity of enjoying a ‘bush meat’ slip by, as he quickly snatched them away!
As the operation continued amid efforts at wading through the swampy paths, hoses linking many tanks, lay on the flooded paths, so were varying sizes of jerry cans and buckets.
Addressing journalists after the operation, Hon Sekibo expressed satisfaction with the ongoing campaign against illegal artisanal refineries in the area, noting that the Council has made tremendous progress in the fight.
He said that the successful raid on the sites followed intelligence gathering which revealed that the community was home to the biggest bunkering activities in the oceanic Kalabari area.
He appealed to good spirited people of Kalabari to support the fight by exposing more camps being used for the illegal activity.
“I have said in several for a that land is the first right of a man, and if it is destroyed, it will bring poverty, sickness and sufferings.
“You can see the level of destruction done on the river.
Our river can never be the same again in the next 70 years.
Let’s do something before it’s too late”, he begged.
Hon. Sekibo also gave kudos to governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for taking the bold step to rid the state of the menace responsible for the killer black soot.
Also speaking to the newsmen, the Base Operations Officer of NNS Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, Commander Umar Abubakar C. said the operation was the 13th day of ‘Operation River Dominant’, aimed at dismantling illegal oil refineries in the state.
Consequently, the Office said that riverine command posts has been established within the water ways.
“The establishment of these posts has provided deterrence by denial.
It has denied freedom of action to the economic saboteurs by stopping them from moving the illegal products.
“What is most pleasing, particularly today, is the level of synergy and cohesion between all participating agencies.
It is the key enabler towards the attainment of the collective objective of fighting economic saboteurs in Rivers State”, he said.