In a relentless effort to combat oil theft and illegal refining activities in the Niger Delta region, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has conducted successful airstrikes, resulting in the destruction of boats and illegal refining sites. The operation, carried out by the air component of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), demonstrates the Nigerian government’s commitment to eradicating economic sabotage and criminal activities in the oil-rich region.
Director of NAF Public Relations, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, revealed that on Saturday, August 5, 2023, NAF fighter aircraft engaged in precision airstrikes against targets involved in oil theft. The operation was centered around an area approximately 4 nautical miles southeast of Bille, situated west of Bonny Island and south of Port Harcourt in Rivers State.
The airstrikes were executed after the detection of three boats siphoning crude oil from a pipeline. In response, the NAF aircraft neutralized the boats, effectively curbing their illicit activities. Additionally, during the operation, the crew identified an active illegal refining site approximately 4 miles southeast of Idama in Rivers State. This site was subsequently targeted and destroyed.
Air Commodore Gabkwet emphasized the NAF’s commitment to sustaining these operations against economic saboteurs, signaling a shift away from leniency towards criminal elements. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has instructed air component commanders across the nation to collaborate with other security agencies in an ongoing effort to intensify strikes against criminal elements.
Addressing the situation, Air Commodore Gabkwet 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 stern message to those engaged in oil theft and illegal refining activities that their actions will not be tolerated. The Nigerian government remains resolute in its determination to safeguard its natural resources and economic interests, curbing criminal activities and ensuring the prosperity of the nation’s citizens.
As the Nigerian Air Force and security agencies unite to counteract these illegal practices, the operation highlights a collaborative and unwavering effort to restore law and order in the Niger Delta region, fostering an environment of economic growth and stability.