By Tola Gbadamosi
Men of the Anti Crude Oil Theft, COT patrol team of the Nigeria Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) Igbokoda, Ondo State, have destroyed 15,775 litres of crude oil/ illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil worth about N13,251,000, intercepted and seized from illegal bunkering and oil thieves in Ilaje local government area.
In one of the operations, 5,000 litres crude oil was destroyed in accordance with the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe mandate on COT.
Executive Officer of the Base, Commander Humphrey Nnaji, on behalf of Commanding Officer, Captain Wasuku Alushi, made this known while speaking with newsmen at the weekend.
He explained that based on credible intelligence, the Task Force moved to sustain the fight against illegal bunkering and in the process, tracked and intercepted a wooden boat popularly referred to as ‘Cotonou boat’ laden with crude oil.
The wooden boat was intercepted about 12NM off the coast of adjoining Ojumole and Obe community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The Naval boss added that,”On sighting the Naval personnel, the crew abandoned the boat and fled.”
Speaking further on the mandate of the Base, he pointed out, that it was established to serve as a force multiplier for the Western Naval Command, (WNC) in furtherance of its policing roles, especially the Anti-Crude Oil Theft (COT) and illegal bunkering.
He said: “FOB Igbokoda is operationally responsible to the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command under the leadership of Rear Admiral MB Hassan.
The Commanding Officer of the Base, Captain Wasuku Alushi reiterated the commitment of the Base to stamp out the menace of COT and other crimes in Igbokoda and its environs.
Alushi added that the Base will intensify her intelligence gathering, surveillance, robust and aggressive maritime, vehicular as well as static deployment of personnel at strategic locations especially choke points within the Base area of operation.
He said: “so far, within six weeks of the CO’s assumption of command, the Base has made great strides in the arrest and destruction of illegally refined products all in accordance with OPDS directive/mandate.
“On October 13, 2023, a wooden boat laden with about 2,000 litres of suspected illegally refined crude products was intercepted and destroyed at Awoye.”
He further revealed that in another operation on October 18, 2023, based on credible intelligence, the Base discovered an illegal storage site with 5,000 litres of illegal POL products at Ugbo-Nla, which was destroyed in accordance with OPDS directives.
“In furtherance of the Base operations against COT, on October 27, 2023, the Base stormed an IRS at Obe- Akinboye in Obenla community which was observed to be under reactivation for illegal refining of illegally refined AGO which was also destroyed in accordance with the mandate.
“On October 23, the Base also discovered a storage facility for illegal refined products at old market road Igbokoda with 11 x 25 litres containers of illegally refined products totalling 275 litres,” he said.
Most recently, on November 14, 2023, an illegal storage site at Mahin was discovered with 96 drums of 30 litres jerrican and 3 x 300 litres drums of illegally refined POL products approximately 3500 litres concealed in a storage facility.
He assured that the Base will continue to carry out its operations in line with the strategic directives of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral EI Ogalla.
“The CO under his watch is determined to take innovative steps in dealing with criminal activities”, he said.