The Imo State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Owerri says it has intercepted and arrested a Dangote truck conveying over 900 bags of salt and eight drums of stolen Automated Gas Oil, also known as diesel, and three suspects.
The suspects are Ibrahim Babayo, Yunusa Nuhu and Murtala Abdullahi.
It was gathered that the bags of salt were used to conceal the petroleum product with a view to beating security operatives at different checkpoints on the road.
The arrest was said to have been made on October 30, 2019, around 4pm at the Okuzi checkpoint in the Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of the state.
Parading the suspects on Tuesday, the state Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr Raji Ibrahim, said military personnel of the 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Imo State, in a joint operation with officers of the NSCDC, arrested the suspects, who were handed over to undercover operatives of the corps for further investigation and necessary action.
“It is unlawful dealing in petroleum products’ sales and distribution without licences as well as adulteration of petroleum products. It contradicts sections 17 (a) and 18 (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act,” he stated.
Ibrahim added that the drums of diesel in cellophane bags were packed in the middle of the truck with bags of salt used to cover them.
“It was owing to the intelligence of the soldiers and our officers at the checkpoint that the suspects were arrested. They had beaten other security operatives at other checkpoints before they met the ones at Okuzi, who refused to collect bribes from them and insisted on justifying why they were posted there,” Ibrahim said.
Fielding questions from journalists, the firsts suspect and driver of the truck, Babayo, said he was not into conveying goods other than the ones legally approved by the company officials.
He stated, “I was about to leave for Gombe State, when a man called me to come and help him convey some goods. Little did I know that the goods were illegal and fake petroleum products. If I had known that what was loaded were stolen diesel, I would not have accepted to carry it.
“It was when I was stopped by the soldiers that I came to discover that it was stolen diesel.”