Some suspects arrested for alleged oil bunkering, have said they made millions of naira from the illegitimate business.
The suspects, were on their way to deliver petrol to a Chinese-owned rubber processing and manufacturing company in Ikorodu, Lagos State when they were nabbed by operatives of the Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit, Force Headquarters annex, Lagos.
PUNCH Metro learnt that a truck, with registration number XX574APP, laden with 33,000 litres of petrol, was recovered from the suspects.
The suspects are Alison Vitus, Polycarp Ajeh, Amechi Iloama, Onekule Roman and Chukwuebuka Ezema.
Vitus, who is based in Delta State, said he was into genuine oil business before he was introduced to bunkering by a man he identified only as Papa.
He said, “I felt it was a better way of making money when Papa who I met in the course of my business, told me that I can make much gain in this business undetected.
“He is the one who organises the boys that vandalise the pipelines. My duty is to bring my truck close to an agreed spot and they would load it with any available product.
“Sometimes, he supplies me crude oil popularly known as black oil. All we do is to pick it up at Auchi, Edo State. Normally my driver, Chukwuebuka, would drive my truck to meet papa at Auchi where the truck would be loaded with 33,000 litres of crude oil. I would wait at Owo, Ondo State where I consider safe enough to take delivery of the product.
“I usually pay N1m for every 33,000 litres supplied. All I need to is to pay N500, 000 in and pay N500, 000 as soon as the product is delivered. I made millions after re-selling the product.”
When quizzed on how they got buyers, Vitus said he was introduced to the rubber processing company by Ajie.
According to him, they usually bribe security agents they encounter on the roads, adding that he did not know that operatives of the task force were on the ground.
Ajie, the alleged middle-man, said he took to the crime because it was profitable.
He said, “No one sees an opportunity to make good money and ignores it. Officially petrol is sold for N97 per litre but instead of that price, I offered buyers N94 which any business man would gladly accept. For 33,000 litres, we get N3.1m.
“I was carried away by the fact that I made more than a million per delivery. I suspected that the product was vandalised but like I said, if they can travel as far as Kogi State or Auchi in Edo State to Lagos undetected, who am I to reject such business opportunity?
Confirming the arrest, Friday Ibadin, who is in charge of the task force, said the police acted on a tip- off that some suspected vandals were on their way to Lagos to sell stolen fuel.
“Investigation is still on to ascertain why anyone should aid and abet the stealing of the product which Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has the sole right to sell,” Ibadin said.