The Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has arrested a driver, Adebiyi Yusuf, for allegedly engaging in illegal oil bunkering and adulteration of diesel.
Thirty-two-year old Yusuf was apprehended along with one Paul Ifeakandu on Saturday on the premises of a complex on Jimoh Odutola Street, Surulere, Lagos, where they were reportedly selling the product.
It was gathered that eight drums and 14 jerrycans of adulterated diesel; six drums of chemicals; six pumping machines and two number plates, among other items, were recovered from the premises.
Tanks said to be 11,000 litres each were also reportedly mounted on the premises.
It was learnt that the anti-vandal team of the corps, acting on a tip-off, swooped on the suspects around 4pm on Satuday. They were paraded on Tuesday at the NSCDC state command’s headquarters in Ikeja.
Forty-five-year-old Ifeakandu, who hails from Anambra State, said he only assisted the owner of the factory, identified as Okechukwu, to offload the product from tankers.
He said, “The product belongs to Mr. Okechukwu. He is also from Anambra State. I help him to offload the diesel. According to him, he buys the product from a depot in Apapa. I have been working with Mr. Okechukwu for two years now. He gives me N3,000 for every offloading I do.”
However, Yusuf, who claimed to be a Forte Oil tanker driver, denied his involvement in the act, saying he was ill and decided to sleep inside a vehicle parked on the premises when the operatives nabbed him.
Yususf, who also claimed to be a Lagos State indigene, said in Yoruba that he started working for the oil company in January, 2015.
He said, “I was arrested while sleeping in a vehicle on the premises. I told the officers that I am an assistant driver with Forte Oil and not an oil thief, but they ignored my explanation.
“There are mechanics and some people selling gas on the premises. I don’t know why they spared them and arrested me. I don’t know anything about the seized product.”
The Lagos State Commandant of the NSCDC, Tajudeen Balogun, however, said the suspects were culpable of dealing in adulterated and illegal oil bunkering.
He said, “They (the suspects) don’t have licence from the appropriate agency. It looks like they are working for somebody.”
The commandant added that the suspects would be charged to court soon.
Forte Oil Plc, however, denied that Yusuf was its worker.
An official of the firm, who did not want his name in print, said, “We don’t have tanker drivers. He may be working for a transporter. Transporters are independent of our company. We have checked his name in our database; the suspect is not known to us. The company is not affiliated to this case.”