NSCDC Operatives Seize Jerrycans of Smuggled Petroleum Products Photo: File

NSCDC halts smuggling of petroleum products to Benin Republic

* We’re fishermen, not vandals; owner paid us N500 per jerrycan ─Suspects  

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The operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have frustrated an attempt by some fishermen to smuggle 120 jerrycans filled with petroleum products out of the country, following the arrest of two suspects at the weekend.

Vanguard reports that Jebleh Taiwo and Jebleh Abiodun, the suspects, were arrested at Gbegeru beach, a fishing settlement in Badagry area of Lagos State.

The NSCDC operatives also recovered a wooden boat used to convey the products and an outboard engine from the suspects.

The suspects, during interrogation, apparently confessed to be taking the products to Seme Border for onward exportation to neighbouring Republic of Benin.

However, Taiwo and Abiodun maintained that they were errand boys to the owner of the smuggled petroleum products.

Parading them before journalists, Mr. Fasiu Adeyinka, Commandant, Lagos State Command of NSCDC, expressed shock over the activities of criminals along riverine communities in the state.

He informed that these criminal devised another means of carrying on with smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring West African countries because of the closure of the border by the Federal Government.

Of how the suspects were arrested, Adeyinka said, “Investigation by security operatives attached to the ongoing joint border drill codenamed ‘Operation Swift Response’ discovered that petrol smuggled out of the country was purchased from filling stations located along border communities.

“This prompted the Federal Government to outlaw sale of petroleum product by any filling station located close to the border.

“Following this directive, filling stations located there were advised to shut down their operations.

“But criminals have now resorted to buying petrol from filling stations outside border communities.

“Thereafter, they would move the products on motorcycles to riverine communities or fishing settlement from where the jerrycans containing petroleum products would be ferried through the waterways into Benin Republic,” the Commandant explained.

He further related that based on the discovery, “I detailed operatives of the Command to be on the lookout for criminals who have devised this new means of smuggling.

“The surveillance paid off after days of intensive monitoring, with the arrest of two members of the syndicate who specialise in ferrying petrol purchased at filling stations into Benin Republic.

“The suspects alleged that they were contracted by one Chief in the area to help convey the product to Seme Border.

They claimed that they borrowed the boat from a neighbour at Ajido Beach,” he stated.

Adeyinka has advised residents at Badagry and its environs to discourage their people from venturing into smuggling.

He noted that the criminal act is not only unpatriotic but that nation’s economy is being destroyed through such an act.

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