In a desperate bid to evade arrest by security men, five suspected smugglers of petroleum products have jumped into the sea in Badagry, Lagos State, according to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The Lagos State Commandant of the NSCDC, Clement Adesuyi, briefed reporters in Lagos on Sunday on the activities of suspected pipeline vandals and smugglers operating in the Badagry area. He said the suspects were carrying 15,300 litres of the products when they encountered his men, adding that they were in a Yahama boat.
Adesuyi said preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects were attempting to smuggle the products to neighbouring countries, adding that they were apparently coming from Escravos, Apapa. The suspects, he said, abandoned their boat and illegal products and swam to safety.
He said the products were intercepted on the high sea in Badagry by his men after an intelligence report.
“We recovered 45 drums of 300 litres and 72 jerry cans of 25 litres each, and one Yamaha boat engine. Five suspects who were in the boat jumped into the sea to escape arrest. They were coming from Escravos in Apapa.
“Our men are still hunting for the fleeing suspects. Also, we have spread our dragnet across the border line to ensure that our petroleum products are not smuggled out illegally through the sea,” he said.
Adesuyi who said his men would have arrested the smugglers if not because the command was lacking some basic tools, added: “One of main challenges in arresting of suspects from the sea is lack of speed-boat engines. We currently have about 30 good swimmers in Badagry alone, but we need bigger engine boats.”
He said that Nigeria was losing a lot of money daily through the activities of vandals.
“We will make Badagry a hot and prohibited area for criminals destroying our economy,” he vowed.
The products, according to the NSCDC chief, had been evacuated at the command’s Alausa, Ikeja headquarters, adding that they would be handed over to officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) after investigations.
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