The Defence headquarters has launched a special operation code-named ‘Octopus Grip’ to combat oil theft, illegal refineries, pipeline vandalism and other criminal activities in the Niger Delta states of Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta.
The chief of defence staff, General Lucky Irabor, who launched the operation, said it is expected to last for 90 days and tackle oil theft, pipeline vandalism, crime and criminality along the waterways of the three states.
Irabor, said in Nembe local government area of Bayelsa State that the security operation was in line with the constitutional mandate of the nation’s armed forces through the Defence Headquarters.
He said the armed forces was conducting several operations aimed at addressing identified security threats across the various geo-political zones in the country including the Operation Delta Safe in the South South.
Irabor, who was represented by the chief of defence training and operations, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, noted that though these operations had yielded positive results in curtailing activities of oil thieves, pipeline vandals, kidnapping, sea pirates, communal violence and other criminal activities in the region there was need to build on the successes achieved so far, hence the launch of ‘Operation OCTOPUS GRIP’.
He said to make the operation more effective, troops of Operation Delta Safe had been given new rules of engagement to deal with the menace, warning perpetrators to steer clear or face severe consequences.
Earlier, Commander of the Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Aminu Hassan, said Operation Octopus Grip was aimed at reinforcing and sustaining the successes recorded in Operations Accord 1 and 2 which took place from December 2017 to April 2022, resulting in the arrests of 206 suspects, destruction of 682 illegal oil refining camps and 10 militants and pirates camps in the joint operation areas.
Rear Admiral Hassan said at the end of the new operation, it was expected that activities of oil thieves in the area would have reduced drastically and the integrity of oil and gas installations and facilities would be relatively assured