The Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps said its men were able to intercept and seize 4,200 litres of Premium Motor Spirit product also known as petrol in the Akere area of Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.
This is just as suspected smugglers of the seized PMS were said to have escaped arrest by fleeing the raided spot upon sighting the NSCDC team.
The NSCDC state commandant, Idowu Ojelabi, disclosed this to newsmen on Monday while parading the seized product at the command’s headquarters in Abeokuta, the state capital.
According to Ojelabi, the interception was made following credible intelligence received by the NSCDC from some members of the public on the bunkering activities of some suspected smugglers in the area.
He disclosed that upon receiving the information, the NSCDC Marine team laid an ambush for the suspects and patrolled the area for two days before sighting the suspects who were about to transport the illegal products into Benin Republic.
Ojelabi said after two days of surveillance in the area, the suspected smugglers were sighted in a creek with the petroleum products carefully concealed in 42 sacks, but upon sighting the operatives, the suspects jumped into the water and swam away.
He said, “On February 8, 2024, at about 0945hrs, the Marine unit of the NSCDC, Ogun Command attached to the Akere creek in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State intercepted a boat convening a series of sacks suspected to be PMS numbering up to 42 sacks and eight kegs fully loaded with the product at the Akere waterways within Nigeria and Benin border.
“The products were illegally transported towards the Benin Republic. On sighting the NSCDC marine officers’ patrol team, the captain of the boat conveying the PMS dived into the river and swam across.
The NSCDC boss further said the corps would not relent until the suspects were arrested and brought to justice because their activities had adversely affected the nation’s economy.
“From what you have seen so far, each of the sacks is believed to contain about 100 litres of PMS and if that is quantified, it is about 4,200 litres. This runs to some millions of naira in market value. If this goes back to the purse of the Federal Government, the nation will be economically balanced and stable for all of us to benefit even from the dividends.
“These seized items, if recycled back in Nigeria, the citizens will have enough PMS to buy but when they are smuggled abroad, it will pose a negative impact on the nation’s economy.
“We will not sleep until the state is free from all forms of criminality either armed robbery, kidnapping, vandalisation of national assets, bunkering and oil theft. Wherever they are, we have a robust relationship with the public through our civil-military relationship and we are sure to get the right information from the public. Very soon, the suspects behind these seized items will be apprehended,” Ojelabi said.