By Chiemelie Ezeobi
Operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) attached to Badagry Division, weekend, arrested two persons, Mr. Jebleh Taiwo and Mr. Jebleh Abiodun, for attempting to smuggle 120 jerrycans laden with petrol into Benin Republic.
The suspects were allegedly arrested at Gberefu beach, a fishing settlement, in Badagry area of Lagos State.
Aside the 120 Jerry cans of fuel recovered from them, the operatives also seized one wooden boat used to convey the stolen petroleum product and an outboard engine of a boat.
The Commandant of NSCDC, Lagos State Command, Mr. Fasiu Adeyinka, who paraded the suspects said, criminals along riverine communities have devised another way of smuggling to neighbouring countries since the land borders were shut down.
The Commandant said that investigation by security operatives attached to the ongoing joint border drill code names “Operation Swift response” discovered that petrol smuggled out of the country were purchased from filling stations located along border communities.
He said that this prompted the federal government to outlaw the sale of petroleum products by any filling station located close to the border.
He said upon this directive, filling stations located close to border towns were advised to shut down their operations.
According to him, following the directive, criminals have now resulted to buying petrol from filling stations outside border communities.
He said after buying, the criminals would then move the products on motorcycles to riverine communities or fishing settlement from where the jerrycans containing petrol would be ferried by waterways into Benin Republic.
Based on this discovery, he said the command detailed operatives to be on the lookout for criminals who have devised this new means of smuggling.
He said: “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.
“During interrogation, the suspects alleged that they were contracted by a certain chief in the area to help convey the product to Seme Border.”
The Commandant said the suspects also admitted that the petrol was purchased at a certain filling station along the Muwo-Badagry axis.
He further advised those who reside in Badagry to discourage their people from venturing into smuggling, noting that the economy of nations has been destroyed through such an unpatriotic act.
In their confessional statement, the suspects said the owner of the seized product agreed to pay them N500 per each jerry can smuggled out, a total of N60,000 for the 120 jerrycans.