A hideout of notorious illegal oil bunkerers in Mason community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State have been busted.
The raid following a tip off led to the destruction of unspecified amount of suspected illegally refined Automotive Gasoline Oil (AGO) and Kerosene that were neatly loaded in drums, jericans and sacks inside a wooden boat.
The illegal oil bunkering hideouts were very close to several tank farms locations in the area and have been going on in the community for years without any recourse to the environment.
BIGPEN Online understands that no arrest was made in the raid as the operators were said to have fled the scene leaving behind their paraphernalia of office on sighting the team of policemen approaching.
Confirming the development, newly posted Warri Area Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Muhammad Garba who led the the team of policemen to the hideouts, said the raid was carried out following information he got about the illegal activities in the community.
He said he was given the order to carry out the raid by the Inspector General of Police after he had briefed him about the information at his disposal.
Garba warned the illegal oil bunkerers in the community to desist from the illegal activities or be ready to face the full wrath of the law.
“I received the instructions from above to come here and see things for myself and I have seen what is going on here and I have taken action which you have also witnessed as journalists.
“I am here based on the information I got and you can see for yourself what has been going on here. I came here to see for myself and you (journalists) also saw how the people are sabotaging the government by engaging in illegal oil bunkering.
“What we did here today is a sound warning to all illegal oil bunkerers. I want to let them know that I am here to work for the federal government of Nigeria. I will not compromise with any illegal oil bunkerer because I am here as a police officer and Warri Area Commander to work for the federal government.
Garba also vowed that his team will ensure that they make the area very uncomfortable for illegal oil bunkering, adding that the exercise will be a continuous one.
“I have seen that the information I got that people were sabotaging government efforts by engaging in illegal oil bunkering is true. I am here to make sure that I make the business uncomfortable for them and they must stop whether they like it or not. They must desist from this illegal act,” the new Warri Area Commander said.
“We have destroyed a lot of these illegal products but right now we cannot qualify how much has been destroyed.
“This exercise is going to be a continuous process because I am an operational man and I have enough men to do the job for me day in day out. As you can bear me witness I always move with the press anywhere I go and you have seen what we have done,” Garba said.
On allegations that some of his men were aiding the illegal oil bunkerers, ACP Garba said any of his men caught in the act will be severely dealt with, stressing that he has already warned his men not to be involved in the illegal activity.
“The police will take action if it found out that any of its men are engaged in illegal bunkering. But I do not think that any police man in his right senses will be party to illegal oil bunkering,” He said.
Garba said he will soon invite leaders of the community to discuss how they can end the illegal oil bunkering activities in the community.