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Troops foil oil theft worth N91bn, destroy 3,051 dugout pits

Troops foil oil theft worth N91bn, destroy 3,051 dugout pits

Nigerian troops have thwarted oil theft operations valued at N91 billion over the past year, in major crackdowns on oil theft and illegal refining activities.

The troops also destroyed 3,051 dugout pits used by criminals for illicit oil extraction, marking a major victory in the country’s fight against economic sabotage and environmental degradation.

This was disclosed during a joint press briefing by security, defence, and response agencies, organised by the Office of the National Security Advisor under the strategic communications interagency advisory policy committee in Abuja on Thursday.

Read also: Power tussle in asset sales, not theft, crippling Nigeria oil sector- Avuru

Edward Buba, director of defence media operations, said that increased patrols by the Nigerian Navy and international collaborations prevented oil thieves from accessing N91,247,052,565.

Troops uncovered and destroyed 3,051 dugout pits, 1,276 boats, 3,924 storage tanks, and 408 vehicles, seizing substantial quantities of stolen crude oil and illegally refined petroleum products.

“In our counter-terrorism and insurgency operations, troops neutralized 9,303 insurgents, arrested 6,998 individuals, and rescued 4,641 hostages. Additionally, 9,562 Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters and their families surrendered to security forces. In the fight against oil theft, 1,437 perpetrators were apprehended, with 363 neutralized. Furthermore, 245 kidnapped hostages were rescued, leading to a marked decrease in insurgent activities,” Buba stated.

He said these efforts also significantly reduced piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea. The Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA) plays a crucial role in coordinating national security strategies and ensuring synergy among various security agencies.

Buba detailed that during the past year, the ONSA hosted the high-level Africa counter-terrorism meeting, which included President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, and other global leaders, focusing on stability in the Sahel region and anti-terrorism efforts. The ONSA also facilitated the UK-Nigeria security and defence dialogue and, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, implemented economic security measures.

The DSS and other intelligence agencies, through coordinated efforts, prevented numerous terrorist attacks and criminal activities, apprehending high-profile terrorists and seizing illegal firearms and ammunition.

The Nigeria Police Force achieved significant reforms and operations, including arrests of suspects for various crimes, rescue operations, and recovery of firearms. The NSCDC also made strides in internal security, thwarting school attacks and combating illegal mining and refining activities.

Read also: 1,437 oil theft suspects arrested in one year, says Defence Minister

Custodial management by the Nigerian Correctional Service focused on inmate training, welfare, and decongestion of facilities, contributing to national security and public safety.

Buba emphasised that robust interagency collaboration ensured comprehensive, strategic, and effective security operations across Nigeria.

Zakari Mijinyawa, special adviser, strategic communication to the national security adviser, in his remarks, attributed robust interagency collaborations to successes in ongoing security operations across the country.

He said the interagency collaboration ensured that security operations were comprehensive, strategic, and effective.