The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has escalated its air operations against economic saboteurs in the Niger Delta Region, intensifying efforts to combat illegal refining sites and unauthorized oil extraction activities.
Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, made this known in a statement obtained by EnergyDay on Tuesday.
He stated that on Sunday, November 12, 2023, the Air Component of Operation Delta Safe received intelligence indicating the presence of three active illegal refining sites and two Cotonou boats engaged in siphoning crude oil from pipelines at Cawthorne Channel and Alakri in Rivers State.
According to Gabkwet, the last 3 days have witnessed intensified air operations in the region as part of the effort to combat oil theft and checkmate the activities.
“The 3 active Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) and 2 Cotonou Boats siphoning crude oil from pipelines at Cawthorne Channel and Alakri in Rivers State were subsequently engaged and destroyed.
“Similar strikes were also carried out at Krakama in Rivers State, on the same day, on 3 Cotonou Boats sighted conveying suspected illegal refined products. On 13 November 2023, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft also struck some sites at Dariama Village in Rivers State following an intelligence report of illegal refining activities near the location.
“On arrival, 3 IRS with tanks, pipes, and pumping machines as well as Cotonou Boats loaded with suspected illegally refined products were sighted, engaged, and subsequently destroyed.
“The intensified air operations should be seen as proactive measures to safeguard the economic interests of the nation and deter criminal elements involved in oil theft,” the statement revealed.
Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, therefore, emphasised that the NAF, alongside sister Services and other security agencies, remains committed to its efforts at securing vital government resources and infrastructures in the Niger Delta Region and beyond.