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Oil Theft: Nigeria Customs operatives tackle armed smugglers, seize 81,425 litres of PMS

*The Nigeria Customs Service operatives clash with smugglers in Ogun State, warning the Federal Government spends huge money to subsidise fuel for consumers, not for a few thieving persons to make ‘selfish gains’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Operatives of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have repelled gunshots by smugglers around Badagry, in Lagos State.

ConsumerConnect reports the overnight sting operation led to the seizure of 81,425 litres Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.

Hussein Ejibunu, Acting Controller of FOU Zone A Unit, briefing reporters on the seizures packed in jerrycans and sacks, said suspected smugglers using dane guns shot at NCS operatives during the seizure of the petroleum product.

Ejibunu disclosed the Customs’ seizures were results of painstaking intelligence and perseverance on the part of FOU officers who are committed to protecting the national economy.

He described perpetrators of trans-border fuel smuggling as saboteurs that must be stopped.

They don’t mean well for the country, said he.

The Acting Controller also frowned on the situation in which the Federal Government spends huge amount of money to subsidise fuel for Nigerian consumers’ benefit only for a few persons to smuggle same subsidised fuel out of Nigeria for selfish gains.

Ejibunu further noted: “The seizure is a result of serious intelligence.

“We have been monitoring them since last week, and the information came to me that some people are using sacks to smuggle petroleum products out of Nigeria.

“We put a tab on them and their cup became full yesterday. And what baffles me is the manner of loading, which I consider highly ingenious.”

The Acting Controller stated: “For someone to think that instead of carrying drums like the ones we intercepted a few days ago from Ayegun border where they brought in about 60 drums containing PMS about to be moved from Nigeria and hid them in a bush; it was where they went to secure trucks that we swooped on them.

“The only difference in this new one is that they used sacks to conceal the product and put them close to a creek, from where they will be ferried out.”

Ejibunu as well said “the implications in the economy are multifaceted, in the sense that firstly, our country subsidised petroleum products for us for our own use, yet some recalcitrant people who believe that that is the way they can always survive still believe it is to shortchange the nation as well.

“And it is criminal, because it is our collective patrimony, yet some people now believe that they can smuggle it to make gains.”

He noted: “When my men got there at exactly 1330hrs, they were shot at with dane guns.

“And you know that there is a difference between dane guns, pump action guns and assault rifles like AK-47.

“They fired their dane guns a few times and ran away, and since it was their terrain, they knew all the nooks and crannies to use for escape.”

Ejibunu added: “We took possession because I moved in with 18 Hilux vehicles loaded with officers who were armed to the teeth, because I was ready and knew what could come up.

“We have not slept; we went there this morning to see what we apprehended, and it was massive.”

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