03 October 2014, Lagos – The Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has arrested seven persons in connection with alleged illegal bunkering and adulteration of petroleum products.
Parading the suspects in Akure on Thursday, the state Commandant, Mr. Andrew Ugwumba, said the suspects were arrested at midnight in two separate operations carried out by his men at different locations in the state.
The operatives arrested a set of four suspects who had a tanker load of diesel. According to Ugwumba, the men fled when they sighted NSCDC operatives, but they were chased and arrested.
The other group of three was picked up at Irele after they initially evaded arrest with a vehicle loaded with jerry cans which contained the product.
The commandant noted that preliminary assessment of the product showed that it was adulterated which was an offence.
“The suspects are denying that they are involved as expected of anyone caught in this kind of act. We regard them as suspects for now, only the courts can pronounce them guilty.
“As soon as our investigations are completed, we will proceed to prosecute them in court,” he said.
But the suspects who spoke to reporters claimed innocence, saying they were framed up for the offences.
One of the suspects, Obinna Nwabueze, who claimed to be an engineer in a company, said the tanker was on a legitimate assignment of fueling a telecommunication firm base station when they were arrested.
He said the fuel was duly purchased in Lagos with relevant papers, arguing that he was not involved in illegal bunkering.
Another suspect, Akin Gbemidele, said he was arrested at Irele town and not anywhere near a petroleum pipeline.
According to him, the containers were packed into his car by the operatives after he was arrested.