By Gladys Nweke
As parts of efforts to carryout it’s mandate in curbing oil theft in the Niger Delta, the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe, OPDS, says it has foiled over 313 attempts to vandalised major crude oil export pipelines in the region.
The vandalism incidents, according to OPDS Commander, Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade, occurred between January and September 2019.
The pipelines are the Trans Niger Pipeline, Trans Escravos Pipeline and Trans Ramos Pipeline, operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, and Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL.
Speaking today, during the flag off of Operation Safety Check 6th, in Alakiri, Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, OPDS Commander, Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade, said 988 illegal crude refining camps were also destroyed during the period under review.
Akinrinade explained that Operation Safety Check 6th, was aimed at stepping up operation tempo in the joint operation area as the year gradually comes to an end.
The OPDS boss said the objective of the operation is to sustain the successes recorded so far and improve on operational efforts in order to deny criminal elements the space within the joint task force area.
He urged the people to always involve themselves in legitimate business, and ensure they avoid illegality, which according to him, does not pay.
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, Sept 9. 2019 resulted to the arrest of about 553 suspects, destructions of 988 illegal refineries and 15 sea 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 tankers and 313 other vehicles.
Statistics available reveals that OPDS averted over 313 infractions on Trans Niger, Trans Ramos and Trans Escravos Pipeline which is 71.6 percent of the total attempts made on the pipelines between January and September 2019,
The OPDS Commander commended the Governor of Rivers State as well as the management of Eroton Exploration and Production Limited for their support and collaborations with the JTF.