NAF Continues Aerial Assault on Illegal Refining Sites and Boats in Rivers State
By Lawrence Audu
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), as part of Operation Delta Safe, in a relentless effort to combat economic sabotage and oil theft in the South-south region of Nigeria, has launched air strikes on 28 November 2023, targeting illegal refining sites and boats in Rivers State.
The aerial operation resulted in the destruction of two Cotonou boats located at Arugbana near Okrika, as well as an active Illegal Refining Site (IRS) equipped with machinery and reservoirs containing illicit products at Yellow Island near Bonny Island.
A similar offensive was carried out on 27 November 2023 in a southeastern area of Abisse in Rivers State, where an active illegal refining site concealed with reservoirs and a storage tank suspected of holding illegally refined products was located and subsequently demolished. Furthermore, another location northwest of Omama was targeted, as it was found to contain items believed to be stolen crude oil concealed in sacks.
In a statement, Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, affirmed that the Air Component of Operation Delta Safe is committed to persisting in its mandate until the activities of these saboteurs are either completely eradicated or significantly reduced. He restated the dedication of the Nigerian Air Force in addressing the persistent challenges posed by illegal refining and oil theft in the South-south region of the country.
Gabkwet further emphasized the resolve of the Nigerian military to maintain sustained pressure on perpetrators engaged in illegal oil-related activities, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding the nation’s natural resources and preserving the integrity of the oil sector.
The sustained aerial strikes are part of a broader initiative to curb the illicit activities of oil thieves and economic saboteurs in the region. These operations underscore the commitment of the Nigerian Air Force to disrupt and dismantle illegal operations that contribute to environmental degradation and financial losses for the country’s oil industry.
The continued efforts to combat illegal refining and oil theft demonstrate the government’s resolve to safeguard the nation’s natural resources and preserve the integrity of the oil sector in the face of persistent threats posed by illegal activities.
Following the recent aerial operations conducted by the Air Component of Operation Delta Safe, subsequent reconnaissance flights over several key areas including Cawthorne Channel, Bille, Dariama, Okrika, Bonny Island, and Idama have revealed a series of illegal refining sites that have been destroyed and abandoned. These locations, previously targeted and neutralized by the Air Component, have remained inactive, suggesting that the measures deployed are yielding the desired results.
The observed cessation of activities at these sites serves as a promising indicator that the strategies being implemented are effectively disrupting the operations of economic saboteurs and oil thieves in the region. This development underscores the potential success of the ongoing efforts to combat illicit activities related to oil production and refining.
The continued vigilance and proactive measures undertaken by the Air Component signify a concerted effort to curtail the illicit operations that have long plagued the region, signaling a step towards achieving a more secure and sustainable environment for Nigeria’s oil industry.