Chief of naval staff, Awwal Gambo has disclosed that illegal oil refining sites in the Niger Delta are usually reactivated hours after demolition.
This was stated by the navy chief while speaking on efforts to combat illegal oil refining in the region during a media chat on Saturday.
According to Gambo, there are over 3,000 creeks in the Niger Delta, which he says makes it difficult to track activities of all illegal oil refiners.
“I have to bring to note: Illegal refining sites as we speak take about seven to eight hours after destruction to be reactivated for illegal operation by those involved,” he said.
“We have over 3,000 creeks in the Niger Delta such that even if we’re going to put all the armed forces of Nigeria into those creeks, it would not be enough.”
Gambo called on leaders in the region to emulate the “political will” displayed by Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, in the campaign against illegal oil refining.
He said with the support of the governor, the Nigerian Navy has launched several operations in Rivers to combat the menace.
“It takes political will for a leader to say, ‘any local government chairman in my state that does not bring out the culprit involved in such illegality will be removed from office’,” he added.
“We took that and because of the support of the Rivers state government for us, we launched ourselves into that operation.”
The navy chief urged Niger Delta communities to take advantage of opportunities initiated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“NNPC has opened a window of opportunities for such communities to form corporations; perhaps to establish modular refineries and then get crude oil from NNPC partners legally and refine them so that they stay away from such illegal activities,” he said.
Illegal oil refining in the Niger Delta has continued to endanger the environment and residents of the region who live at the mercy of soot pollution.