Operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached to the Badagry Division at the weekend arrested two persons, Jebleh Taiwo and Jebleh Abiodun, allegedly for attempting to smuggle 120 25-litre jerry cans laden with petrol into Benin Republic.
Taiwo, 20, and Abiodun, 30, were allegedly arrested on Friday, February 14, 2020 at Gberefu Beach, a fishing settlement in Badagry.
Aside the jerry cans recovered from the suspects, the operatives also seized one wooden boat allegedly used to convey the stolen petroleum product and the outboard engine of a boat.
The Commandant of NSCDC, Lagos State Command, Fasiu Adeyinka, who paraded the suspects before newsmen on Friday, said that criminals along riverine communities had devised another way of smuggling petroleum products to neighbouring countries after the federal government shut down some of its land borders.
Adeyinka said that investigation by security operatives attached to the on-going joint border drill codenamed ‘Operation Swift Response’ discovered that petrol being smuggled out of the country was purchased from filling stations located along the 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 and direct such filling stations to shut down their operations.
According to him, in the aftermath of the government move, criminals had resorted to buying petrol from filling stations outside border communities.
Adeyinka said that the criminals, after buying the products, would then move it on motorcycles to riverine communities or fishing settlements from where the jerrry cans containing petrol would be ferried by waterways into Benin Republic.
He said that based on this discovery, he detailed operatives of the Command to be on the look-out for criminals engaged in this new means of smuggling.
“The surveillance paid off after days of intensive monitoring with the arrest of two members of the syndicate, who specialize in ferrying petrol purchased at filling stations, into Benin-Republic.
“During interrogation, the suspects disclosed that they were contracted by a certain chief in the area to help convey the product to the Seme border,” he added.
The Commandant said that the suspects also admitted that the petrol was purchased at a certain filling station in the Muwo-Badagry axis.
In their confessional statements, the suspects said that the owner of the seized product agreed to pay them N500 each per jerry can smuggled out and that they were expecting to get N60,000 from the 120 jerry cans deal if it had been successful.