The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) has intensified its efforts against oil theft activities in the Niger Delta region with successful airstrikes that resulted in the destruction of boats engaged in tapping crude oil from pipelines and an illegal refining site. The air component of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) carried out the operations on Saturday, August 5, 2023.
Director of NAF Public Relations, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, revealed that the operations targeted and effectively neutralized criminal activities linked to oil theft in the region. The coordinated airstrikes were executed to disrupt the activities of oil thieves and their collaborators.
The first operation targeted three boats that were observed extracting crude oil from a pipeline at a dispensing site situated west of Bonny Island and south of Port Harcourt, in Rivers State. NAF fighter aircraft engaged and destroyed the boats involved in the illicit activity, further crippling the operations of oil thieves.
Continuing its proactive stance, the air component discovered an active illegal refining site while en route to Port Harcourt. This site, located approximately four nautical miles southeast of Idama in Rivers State, was promptly targeted and obliterated. Tanks and reservoirs containing suspected illegal refined products were rendered inoperable, striking a significant blow to those involved in illicit refining operations.
The intensified efforts against oil theft underscore the determination of the Nigerian Airforce and Operation Delta Safe to counter economic sabotage and criminal activities that threaten the country’s resources and stability. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has issued directives to air component commanders nationwide to collaborate with other security agencies and continue their relentless pursuit of criminal elements.
Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet emphasized the unwavering commitment to confront and neutralize those involved in economic sabotage. He stated, “The days of treating criminal elements in our country with kids’ gloves is over. We must continue on this trajectory until we bring all of them to their knees.”
The recent airstrikes serve as a potent reminder that the Nigerian Airforce is resolutely focused on eradicating oil theft and criminal activities, ensuring the protection of national resources and contributing to the nation’s overall security. As the air component of Operation Delta Safe sustains its efforts, it sends a clear message to perpetrators that their activities will not go unchecked, reinforcing the commitment to uphold the rule of law and safeguard Nigeria’s interests.