Navy Uncovers 400,000 Capacity AGO Storage Tanks In Private Home At Lekki

…hands suspects, N89m worth of AGO to NSCDC

By: Okosun Dennis

In its determination to ensure that the activities of illegal bunkers and trading in petroleum products are stamped out, the Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft on Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024, handed over five suspects to the National Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) at Silver Bird Road, Ilasun in Lekki, Lagos State.

While handing over the suspects, who operates under an unregistered company, “Ahmed Ariyo Sons Nigeria Limited,” Mr Ahmed Ariyo and two sisters and other suspects, the Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Rafiu Taye Oladejo, disclosed that the suspects have been running the illegal oil deal as a family business.

He formally handed them over with all the exhibits to the Lagos State Commandant, NSCDC, CC Adedotun Sunday Keshinro.

According to Cdre Oladejo, “it’s worrisome that an apartment of this nature is serving as illegal fuel depot undermining the economic and security implications on lives and properties for the general area should there be a case of fire disaster.

Giving a breakdown of what were uncovered, Cdre Oladejo said eight tanks of 50,000 storage capacity each were kept in the compound with cumulatively, 57,000 litres of AGO in them during confiscation, while the truck had 7,000 litres and the white TM bus had 30 jerry-cans of 50 litres totalling 1,500 litres of AGO with an estimated market value of N89,000,000.

In addition, there were 400 jerry-cans, 13 drums carefully stocked inside another TM bus as well as in the compound.

However, with a capacity of about 400,000 litres of all the storage tanks, it was estimated to store AGO worth N500million.

Explaining to newsmen how his men uncovered the private depot, Commodore Oladejo gave further insight, “Yesterday afternoon, we got intelligence that a white bus was been loaded at Elegushi Beach with petroleum products.

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“We despatched our Quick Response to the location. Before they could get there, both the boat and bus had disappeared. Our further surveillance of the white bus led to the discovery of this private apartment of an illegal fuel depot.”

On whether the suspects have collaborators, Cdre Oladejo observed that, “It cannot be a one-man show. However, we are not relenting to tackle oil theft in all ramifications in consonance with the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, directives to stamp out the maritime environment of oil theft whether crude or refined,” he emphasized.

The prime suspect, Ahmed Ariyo, who looked unworried and relaxed without an iota of guilt, explained to our correspondent that he got involved in illegal oil sale in a private apartment about five years ago.

It was learnt that the business was not registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and has been getting supplies from workers in oil vessels popularly called “Remain on Board” (RB). Also, he bought products from depots with weigh bill that permits him to load in Apapa.

The 47 years old Ariyo, who has seven children and two wives, further narrated to our correspondent that he secured a loan of N50 million from an undisclosed bank to fund the business. “Since I started about five years ago, I deal only on Diesel (AGO) and retail the product to individuals within Jakande, Agunji, Igbo-Efon and Ajah and its environs.

On how he got the storage tanks, he said, “I bought four of the tanks from a filling station for N1.5m each after the station had done away with them during renovation, he reiterated.

While taking possession of the suspects and the exhibits, the Commandant of Corps Keshinro commended the Nigerian Navy Beecroft considering that one of the economic saboteurs has been arrested.

Expressing shock with the volume of tanks discovered, he reiterated that despite their campaign and efforts, it was worrisome that some individuals could still go to this extent, adding that they would continue their investigation and take the suspects to court for diligent prosecution.

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