By Victor Ernest with agency report
The Lagos State Environment and Special Offences Enforcement Taskforce said it has arrested 43 persons over illegal dealings in petroleum products in the state.
The chairman of the taskforce, Olayinka Egbeyemi, a Superintendent of Police, told newsmen on Sunday in Lagos that the suspects were nabbed while adulterating diesel at Plot 8, Elephant Cement Way, Alausa, Ikeja.
He said that the taskforce acted on petitions on illegal oil activities in the area, adding that 2.5 million litres of adulterated diesel were recovered from the suspects.
Caught mixing original diesel
According to Egbeyemi, the 43 persons were caught while mixing original diesel with kerosene and selling at a reduced price to the public.
He said that investigations revealed that the illegal oil business had been on in the area for over seven years, adding that the adulterated diesel was often supplied to companies across the state.
The adulterated diesel of about 2.5 million litres were fully loaded in gallons and six different trucks with registration numbers FST 615 XR, EPE 672 XC, DKW 05 XA, KTU 750 XN, BDG 717 XA, FKJ 327 XH and XR 95 LSD.
Environmental Management and Protection Bill
He stated that the newly-signed Lagos State Environmental Management and Protection Bill by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode will safeguard against prevalent pandemics around Lagos state.
”We urge the public to report to appropriate government authority any illegal or criminal activities around them through the Lagos Emergency Toll-free lines ‘112’ or ‘767’,” he said.
Egbeyemi said that the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Fatai Owoseni, had directed that all those arrested in connection with illegal businesses in oil would be immediately charged to court.
Residents of the Alausa area told journalists that the illegal activities in oil were responsible for a fire outbreak that destroyed properties including 18 vehicles in the area recently.
One of the residents, Anjorin Babalola, said that they were afraid to report to the government because they were threatened by those involved in the illegal dealings.
Rebecca Ogunsanya, a food vendor, said that trucks, including those marked ”NNPC” and ”Oando” discharged diesel and kerosene inside the compound daily.
One of the suspects said Jlobjin Petroleum Ltd, the company masterminding the illegal business, belongs to one Alhaji Lukumon Ojena.
He confessed that they mixed diesel with kerosene daily and supplied in large quantities to the public, particularly communication companies and banks, at low prices.
According to him, he and his accomplices make sales of over N20 million every day from adulterated diesel.
Another suspect said that the business was very lucrative as he was paid between N3,000 and N4,000 daily.
He disclosed that they had contacts with major oil marketers who supplied them with diesel and kerosene daily for the business.