By Monday Ebalu, Benin City
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Edo Command has destroyed three illegal refineries as part of efforts to check pipeline vandals.
The refineries were located at Obaszagbon Village, in Uhumwode Local Government Area of the state.
The operation was led by Mr Innocent Okodugha of the Anti-Vandal Unit of the NSCDC.
Okodugha said that the renewed fight against vandals had become imperative, in view of revenue leakages in the country due to economic sabotage.
According to him, the major economic sabotage is as a result of activities of pipeline vandals and operators of illegal refineries.
Okodugha said that in spite of efforts aimed at checkmating pipeline vandalism and oil bunkering in the country, the perpetrators had remained adamant.
He said the act indicated that the perpetrators did not only have financial muscles but financiers and godfathers who backed them up even when apprehended.
Okodugha said that this had encouraged the NSCDC to also include the buyers of the illegally-refined petroleum products on its wanted lists.
“The NSCDC is well-equipped and prepared to achieve success in its mandate.
“We will not rest on our oars because the activities of these people are causing the country so much loss.
“Other petroleum products are end products of crude oil; yet these people refine just diesel from the crude oil stolen from vandalised oil pipelines and waste the other.
“We say enough is enough because the economic implication of the activities of the vandals is biting hard on the country, especially the workers,’’ he said.
According to him, officers of the command have been on surveillance in the area since April after the Army Joint Task Force carried out a similar destruction in one of the camps.
Mr Alex Osazuwa, and Mr Felix Ojeaga, Chairman and Director of Operations of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) accompanied officials of the NSCDC on the operation.
In his remarks, Osazuwa said that the association would continue to support the fight against vandals in the state as its success would be beneficial to all.
He said that the activities of vandals were also affecting members of the association (IPMAN) as they sometimes experienced scarcity of petroleum products.
Osazuwa advised government to continuously support the NSCDC with weapons and logistics to ensure success.
Two suspects were arrested during the operation.