… As Man 54, charged with alleged trafficking in Cocaine***
The Niger Delta Safe Environment Group (NSEG) has lauded the Nigerian military on its increased operations aimed at curbing oil theft in the region.
This is contained in a statement on Monday by Mr Ombo Princewill and Felicia Akpabio, President and Secretary of the group, respectively, in Abuja.
The duo said that long years of illegal oil bunkering had caused severe damage to the environment and health of people in the region.
They lamented that several residents were afflicted with illnesses as a result of massive environmental degradation caused by the activities of oil thieves.
The officials, however, said that military onslaught by troops of Operation Delta Safe had weakened the activities of the criminals.
According to them, the activities of the Armed Forces, under the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, have helped to protect the environment and save huge resources for the country.
“Just last week, the Defence Headquarters announced that it discovered and destroyed 74 illegal refineries and arrested a total of 71 criminals terrorising the zone.
“In addition, the troops have also recovered 209,000 litres of crude oil, 145,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, 4,500 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, 27 variety of weapons, 468 assorted ammunition, 2-speed boats, 2 outboard engines, 8 vehicles and 4 motorcycles.
“We commend the AFN for operations conducted at the creeks, waterways, high sea, towns and cities of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, which yielded appreciable results.
“For long, misguided elements in our region have put our health at risk in their quest for illegal wealth. Women with pregnancy are affected, and there are incidences of lung cancer.
“Not to be mentioned is the manner in our sources of livelihood, fishing and farming, have been greatly affected,” the officials added.
They urged people of the region to cooperate with the military in tackling those degrading the environment, causing health hazards and bleeding the country’s economy.
In another development, a 54-year-old man, James Nzewesi, was on Monday docked at a Federal High Court in Lagos, for allegedly engaging in unlawful deals in 19 grammes of Cocaine.
In a charge numbered FHC/L/119c/23, Nzewesi was taken to court by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on one count of drug trafficking.
The prosecutor, Mrs N.J. Mamza, alleged that the defendant committed the offence on Feb. 2, at the Egan Igando area of Lagos
The prosecutor said that the defendant illegally dealt in the narcotic weighing 19g.
According to her, Cocaine is a narcotic similar to heroine and other psychotropic substances listed in the NDLEA schedule as prohibited.
She said that the offence contravened the provisions of Section 11 (c) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30 Laws of the Federation, 2004.
The Act specifies a penalty of life imprisonment if convicted of the offence.
However, no date has been fixed for further hearing in the matter.