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Anti-Smuggling: Navy arrests 197 smuggling suspects, destroys 637 illegal refineries

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It said that the suspects were nabbed in Akwa Ibom and Cross River, and that in 2018, it destroyed 637 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta and “220 so far in 2019’’.

He said the arrests and destruction of the refineries resulted from anti-smuggling operations of the navy, adding that the suspects, boats and products hand been handed over to Nigeria Customs Service for appropriate action.

He said that “Operation RIVER SWEEP’’”>Operation RIVER SWEEP’’’’ was activated primarily to address increasing activities of illegal refiners, particularly in Delta and Rivers.

“Accordingly, the arrested smugglers, boats and products were handed over to Nigeria Customs Service for appropriate action,’’ Ibe-Enwo said.

He said the achievements of the force in curbing smuggling activities was in renewed drive towards eradicating rice smuggling in support of the FG policy on local rice production.

He said another major operational achievement recorded by the navy was the reduction in the losses occasioned by crude oil theft.

“This is reflective in the steady increase in the nation’s income from sales of crude.

“All the losses are not as a result of theft; there are losses due to shut downs, which sometimes are a direct consequence of pipeline vandalism.

“ The success of NN anti-crude oil theft operations is partly due to the Choke Point Management and Control Regime emplaced in March, 2016 and Operation RIVER SWEEP’’”>Operation RIVER SWEEP’’ that was activated in January, 2017,’’ Ibe-Enwo.

He explained that Choke Point regime involved deployment of armed personnel in houseboats in strategic locations within the creeks, supported by patrol boats.

Ibe-Enwo disclosed that since the introduction of choke point control, several arrests had been made, leading to the destruction of barges and vessels used for conveying stolen crude oil and illegally-refined products.

“The increase in the relatively large number of storage tanks and wooden boats destroyed is attributable to the success of Choke Point Management Regime which has made it near impossible to move stolen products out to sea.’’

“ The MDA facilities help to present a complete, clear, detailed and updated maritime situation of Nigeria’s maritime domain, and by extension, the Gulf of Guinea.

“This assists in vectoring navy ships to accurate locations of targets of interest with economy of effort, surprise and cost effectiveness.

“So, the illegal maritime operators are forewarned to keep clear,’’ he said.

Edited by Bola Akingbehin and Olisa Ifeajika



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Doris Esa: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng