We were paid N500 for each jerrican- suspects
By Evelyn Usman
Attempt by some fishermen to smuggle 120 jerricans filled with petroleum products out of the country have been foiled by operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp, NSCDC , following the arrest of two of them, weekend.
The suspects: Jebleh Taiwo and Jebleh Abiodun, were arrested at Gbegeru beach a fishing settlement in Badagry area of Lagos. A wooden boat used to convey the products and an outboard engine were also recovered from them.
During interrogation, the suspects, confessed to be taking the products to Seme boarder , for onward exportation to the Benin Republic. They however, maintained that they were mere errand boys.
Parading them before journalists, the Commandant, Lagos State command of the NSCDC, Fasiu Adeyinka, expressed shock over activities of criminals along riverrine communities in the state.
He informed that these criminal devised another means of carrying on with smuggling of petroleum product to neighboring West African countries, due to closure of the border by the Federal Government.
Explaining how they were arrested, he said, “ investigation by security Operatives attached to the ongoing joint border drill code named ‘operation Swift response’ discovered that petrol smuggled out of the country were purchased from filling stations located along border communities.
“This prompted the Federal Government to outlaw sale of petroleum product by any filling station located close to the border. Following this directive, filling stations located there were advised to shutdown their operations.
But criminals have now resulted to buying petrol from filling stations outside border communities. Thereafter, they would move the products on motorcycles to riverine communities or fishing settlement from where the jerry cans containing petroleum products would be ferried through the waterways into Benin-Republic.
“ Based on this discovery, I detailed operatives of the command to be on the lookout for criminals who have devised 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
“The suspects alleged that they were contracted by one Chief in the area to help convey the product to Seme-Border.
“They also confessed that the owner of the product bought the fuel from a petrol station in the area. They claimed that they borrowed the boat from a neighbor at Ajido beach”.
The Commandant therefore, advised residents at Badagry and its environs to discourage their people from venturing into smuggling, noting that it was not only an unpatriotic act but that nations economy had been destroyed through such act.
When approached, the suspects, denied been vandals. Rather, one of them, Taiwo, said, “ we are just fishermen. We are not owners of the petroleum products. We were paid N500 per jerrican. We were to get N60,000 from the 120 jerricans, if we had succeeded in taking them to Benin Republic”.