The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has intensified its efforts against illegal oil refining activities in several states, achieving significant results in Rivers, Bayelsa, and Imo. According to Edward Gabkwet, the spokesperson for NAF, a series of airstrikes conducted between June 18 and June 22, 2024, under Operation Delta Safe, targeted and destroyed 13 illegal refining sites and seven boats involved in criminal activities.

Gabkwet highlighted specific operations where NAF’s Air Component took decisive action. For instance, on June 18, illegal sites near Imo River were discovered, featuring seven overhead tanks used for refining operations. The airstrikes successfully demolished these facilities, prompting suspected bunkerers to flee the scene. The following day, airstrikes were directed at Wilcourt in Rivers State, where illegal refining activities were detected alongside a canoe loaded with illicitly refined products and gun boats.

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Further operations on June 22 targeted illegal refining sites approximately 6 kilometers from Tunu in Bayelsa State. The precision strikes were aimed at dismantling these operations, ensuring that criminal activities were disrupted effectively. Another significant incident occurred on the same day when NAF crews identified five J5 buses believed to be repurposed as mini tankers, attempting to siphon illegally refined products from the Imo River. Prompt action by the crew resulted in the destruction of the refining sites supplying these buses, compelling the perpetrators to disperse.

Edward Gabkwet emphasized NAF’s commitment to sustaining airstrikes against economic saboteurs and oil thieves until such criminal activities are minimized. The operations underscore NAF’s role in maintaining security and curtailing illicit activities that undermine the nation’s economic stability and environmental integrity.

The ongoing efforts by NAF serve as a testament to the government’s determination to combat illegal oil refining and protect vital resources for the benefit of all Nigerians. As these operations continue, NAF remains resolute in its mission to safeguard national interests and promote lawful economic activities across affected regions.