No fewer than three trucks have been seized by the Nigerian Navy for allegedly used to smuggle adulterated ‘black oil’ to unsuspecting consumers in Rivers, an official said.
Capt. Adegoke Ebo, Executive Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, disclosed this while presenting the trucks to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Ebo said that owners of the trucks were caught while transloading adulterated black oil from large wooden boats into three 33,000 litres capacity trucks.
According to him, the trucks were seized by NNS Pathfinder’s anti-bunkering patrol team at Hourly Water Kings Front in Trans Amadi area of Port Harcourt on Feb. 21, 2019.
“At the time of arrest, one of the trucks was already laden with about 5,000 litres of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined slug (black oil).
“Also, the two other trucks were connected to hoses waiting to load same slug product from large wooden boats in the area,” he said.
Ebo added that no arrest was made as drivers of the trucks fled and abandoned the vehicles and cargo on sighting the naval patrol team.
He said that shortly after the discovery, troops retrieved the trucks and drove them to the naval base for preliminary investigation to the matter.
“We have concluded our preliminary investigation, and so, the naval headquarters directed the handover of the trucks and products to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct further investigation.
“The public has our assurances that the Nigerian Navy is not relenting in its efforts at ridding the waterways of maritime-related crimes,” he assured.
The naval officer warned criminals to desist from criminal and unlawful acts in the country’s maritime domain.
He gave an assurance that the navy had zero tolerance for illicit maritime activities.
Receiving the trucks and petroleum products, a senior operative of the EFCC, Mr Arasha Shaka, said that the anti-graft agency would conduct accelerated investigation to find the owners of the trucks.
He said after the owners were found that the suspects would be charged to court to answer to the allegations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that slug, popularly known as black oil, is a by-product of illegally refined diesel.