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Nigerian troops foil oil theft worth N91bln, destroy 3,051 dugout pits

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The Nigerian troops have foiled oil theft operations estimated to be worth over N91 billion in a major crackdown on oil theft and illegal refining activities.

According to a report from the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA), the troops destroyed 3,051 dugout pits used by criminals for illicit oil extraction, marking a major victory in the country’s fight against economic sabotage and environmental degradation.

This was disclosed during a joint press briefing by security, defence, and response agencies, organized by the Office of the National Security Advisor under the strategic communications interagency advisory policy committee in Abuja on Thursday.

Mr. Edward Buba, Director of Defence Media Operations, said increased patrols by the Nigerian Navy and international collaborations thwarted the effort of oil thieves “from accessing N91,247,052,565.”

According to him, the troops uncovered and destroyed 3,051 dugout pits, 1,276 boats, 3,924 storage tanks, and 408 vehicles, resulting in the seizure of substantial quantities of stolen crude oil and illegally refined petroleum products.

Buba said: “In our counter-terrorism and insurgency operations, troops neutralized 9,303 insurgents, arrested 6,998 individuals, and rescued 4,641 hostages. Additionally, 9,562 Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters and their families surrendered to security forces.

“In the fight against oil theft, 1,437 perpetrators were apprehended, with 363 neutralized. Furthermore, 245 kidnapped hostages were rescued, leading to a marked decrease in insurgent activities.”

He said these efforts also significantly reduced piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA) plays a crucial role in coordinating national security strategies and ensuring synergy among various security agencies.

According to Buba, during the past year, the ONSA hosted the high-level Africa counter-terrorism meeting, which included President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, and other global leaders, focusing on stability in the Sahel region and anti-terrorism efforts.

The ONSA also facilitated the UK-Nigeria security and defence dialogue and, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, implemented economic security measures.

Through coordinated efforts, the DSS and other intelligence agencies prevented numerous terrorist attacks and criminal activities, apprehending high-profile terrorists and confiscating illegal firearms and ammunition.

The Nigeria Police Force achieved significant reforms and operations, including arrests of suspects for various crimes, rescue operations, and the recovery of firearms.

The NSCDC also made strides in internal security, thwarting school attacks, and combating illegal mining and refining activities.

The Nigerian Correctional Service’s custodial management focused on inmate training, welfare, and decongestion of facilities, all of which contributed to national security and public safety.

Buba emphasized that robust interagency collaboration ensured comprehensive, strategic, and effective security operations across Nigeria.

Mr. Zakari Mijinyawa, special adviser, strategic communication to the national security adviser, in his remarks, attributed robust interagency collaborations to successes in ongoing security operations across the country.

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