The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refinery of crude oil in the Niger Delta region.
The acting Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF) and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Umar Mohammed, who represented the minister said the move was in a bid to block revenue leakages.
“The major mandate of the committee is to recover illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
Members of the Committee were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Others are from the Federal Ministries of Justice and Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources, and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Military had in August deactivate some illegal refineries in Niger Delta.
Troops of Operation Delta Safe deactivated several illegal refining sites and recovered large volumes of refined petroleum products and crude oil in the region.
Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, had disclosed the operations of the military in Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta led to the discovery and deactivation of several illegal refining sites.
NAN also recalls that a total of 21 ovens, 12 dugout pits and 58 metal storage tanks had 2.329 million litres of illegally refined diesel and 2.19 million litres of stolen crude oil.
Also recovered were two boilers and 750 bags of illegally refined petroleum products, one-speed boat, one AK-47 rifle, one FN rifle, three smoke gun rifles, 12 fabricated RPGs, 263 live cartridges, 20 rounds of 7.62mm NATO and 7.62mm special ammunition among other items.