The Navy has arrested 14 diesel smugglers in Rivers State for allegedly smuggling adulterated diesel and “black oil” to unsuspecting consumers in the state, an official said.
The Executive Officer of Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, Capt. Samuel Garba, spoke yesterday while parading the 14 suspected smugglers before reporters in Port Harcourt, the state capital, Punch Metro reports.
Garba said the suspects were caught while trans-loading adulterated diesel and black oil from 12 large wooden boats into nine 33,000 litre-capacity trucks.
According to him, the suspects were arrested in three different raids carried out at suspected illegal bunkering sites in Marine Base, Rumuolumeni and Eleme locations.
“In the first raid on September 16 at Horly Kings Waterfront at Marine base, our patrol team arrested nine suspects while trans-loading petroleum products.
“They were caught lifting substances believed to be stolen crude oil from eight wooden boats to six trucks stationed within a yard at the waterfront.
“In addition, a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) stacked with N1.95 million belonging to one of the suspects was confiscated.”
Garba noted that the troops also arrested one suspect for allegedly trans-loading stolen diesel from two wooden boats to a truck on September 17 around Yesin Waterside area of Rumuolumeni.
The executive officer said the wooden boats were discharging the adulterated diesel to the truck, which was stationed 100 meters from the site, before the seizure.
“The third raid was conducted on September 27 around Sand Fill at Eleme. There, we caught four suspects in the act discharging substances suspected to be black oil.
“The suspects were discharging the petroleum product into two 33,000 litre-capacity truck stationed nearby before their arrest and seizure.
“Consequently, 14 suspects, 12 wooden boats with products and nine trucks were detained to enable the (naval) base to conduct preliminary investigation,” he added.
Garba handed over the 14 suspects, diesel and oil to operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to conduct further investigation and possible prosecution of the suspects in court.