By Victor Otigbu
BENIN CITY—THE Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in Edo State has denied demanding bribes from the driver of a petroleum tanker, in Ekpoma, Edo State.
It was learnt that officials of the Edo State Command had Friday allegedly requested an undisclosed amount of money as gratification, after accusing the driver, identified as Zakari, of conveying illegal petroleum products.
It was also gathered that the driver was intercepted by the security operatives on Benin-Auchi road and was asked to present the way bill of the product, which he allegedly did.
But the spokesperson for the command, Mr. Ogbebor Efosa, who described the allegation as an attempt to smear the image of the security agency, said that the command had established a case of diversion of petroleum product.
Efosa, in a statement, explained that the truck was loaded for Lagos and was to offload at Ijora, according to the way bill, but was found in Auchi.
He also dismissed the claim that the tanker was shot at by NSCDC officials, adding that one of the tyres was deflated to prevent the driver from escaping with the vehicle, after he fled into the bush.
“When he (driver) was stopped at first, he failed to stop. Later, the officers followed the truck and finally stopped the truck. The driver took to his heels and ran into the bush.
“One of the tyres was deflated because it was getting late, so the driver will not come later to take the truck away. Then, after several hours, he came out from his hiding place to meet the officers and when he was interrogated, they discovered it was a case of diversion,” the spokesperson said.
Efosa added, “No money was demanded; he was immediately brought to the command and he has been released and no one was beating or treated like an animal. Our duty is to check, monitor any truck which we suspect to be carrying illegal product or even diverting product.”