The Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, (FOU), Zone ‘A’ Ikeja at the weekend intercepted N1.5 billion worth of petroleum products on the verge of being smuggled to Benin Republic.
The petroleum products, loaded in about 12 wooden speedboats, had about 50,000 jerry-cans set to be smuggled from Ijofin creek in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday at the creek where the products were intercepted, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Zone ‘A’, Aminu Dahiru, who was accompanied by the Customs Area Controller of FOU Zone A, Mohammed Aliyu and Controller of Ogun Command, Michael Agbara, said the arrest were made after days of intelligence gathering by officers of the unit.
According to him, exportation of petroleum products through the creeks is an illegal trade and the customs service would continue to fight the crime. He said: “This is a big seizure and it needed to be showcased because of the size and volume involved. This is an unimaginable seizure made by officers. Since it is petroleum products, we do not expect it to be smuggled into Nigeria. So, naturally, it is going out of the country.
A source that was instrumental to the seizure of the products, said it worth over 50,000 jerry-cans. According to the officer, “if three boats could carry 11,000 jerry-cans and we have about nine boats left yet to be evacuated, then we should have about 39,000 left in the creek.
Dahiru added: “We are sure of what we have at FOU because that gave us exactly 11,000 jerry-cans of petroleum products. The value can only be determined if we know the quantity, but with the one at the FOU, we are able to arrive at N40 million because we multiply numbers of kegs to numbers of litres to arrive at that.
“Going by the law, the means of conveyance is liable to seizure but I don’t know whether the speed boats have any value, but at the same time it has been forfeited to the Federal Government. We have seized petroleum products in the past, but this shows us that those who are behind this are selfish and do not care about the country. We would continue to be ahead of them.”