By Godfrey Bivbere & Mercy Opara
Officials of the Federal Operations Unit, FOU zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS repelled gunshots by smugglers around Badagry in an over night Operation resulting in the seizure of 81,425 litres Premium Motor Spirit, PMS popularly referred to as petro.
Acting Controller of the unit, Hussein Ejibunu who briefed reporters on the seizures which were packed in jerrycans and sacks, said suspected smugglers using dane guns shot at customs officers who made the seizure.
He said the seizures were results of painstaking intelligence and perseverance on the part of FOU officers who are committed to protecting the national economy.
Deputy Comptroller Ejibunu described perpetrators of trans border fuel smuggling as saboteurs that must be stopped as they don’t mean well for the country.
He decried a situation where the Federal Government spends huge amount of money to subsidise fuel for Nigerian citizens benefit only for a few persons to be smuggling the subsidised fuel out of Nigeria for selfish gains.
He said “The seizure is a result of serious intelligence. We have been monitoring them since last week, and the information came to me that some people are using sacks to smuggle petroleum products out of Nigeria.
“We put a tab on them and their cup became full yesterday. And what baffles me is the manner of loading, which I consider highly ingenious.
“For someone to think that instead of carrying drums like the ones we intercepted a few days ago from Ayegun border where they brought in about 60 drums containing PMS about to be moved from Nigeria and hid them in a bush; it was where they went to secure trucks that we swooped on them.
“The only difference in this new one is that they used sacks to conceal the product and put them close to a creek, from where they will be ferried out.
“The implications In the economy are multifaceted, in the sense that firstly, our country subsidized petroleum products for us for our own use, yet some recalcitrant people who believe that that is the way they can always survive still believe it is to shortchange the nation as well. And it is criminal, because it is our collective patrimony, yet some people now believe that they can smuggle it to make gains.
” When my men got there at exactly 1330hrs, they were shot at with dane guns. And you know that there is a difference between dane guns, pump action guns and assault rifles like AK47.
“They fired their dane guns a few times and ran away, and since it was their terrain, they knew all the nooks and crannies to use for escape. We took possession because I moved in with 18 Hilux vehicles loaded with officers who were armed to the teeth, because I was ready and knew what could come up.
“We have not slept; we went there this morning to see what we apprehended, and it was massive,” he noted.