Officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Tuesday arrested 11 illegal markets of petroleum products near Danziyal Plaza, along Olusegun Obasanjo way, Central Area, Abuja.
The operatives also seized more than 100 diesel-filled barrels from the scene of the arrest.
A tanker, filled with diesel was recovered while the driver was arrested as well.
Also, hundreds of jerry cans filled with Premium Motor Spirit and kerosene were recovered.
One of the suspects who said he is the Vice Chairman of the marketers in central area, Umar Musa Kuta said they have been in the business for over 10 years without any disturbance from the government.
“I sell diesel there in Danziyal Plaza. We go to the depot direct to buy diesel. We use to gather our money…four or five people will gather money and buy a truck. We have storage and we take the diesel small small, supplying hotels, houses and some Ministries.”
When asked if he had a license to operate, he said: “No, but I am registered with the CAC.”
He said he knew he should have registered with the DPR but said he was not prepared to get the licence yet. “We are working gradually. I am not up to that stage yet but will get to that stage gradually.”
The Federal Capital Territory Commandant of NSCDC, Aminu Kofarsoro said the suspects would be charged to court when investigation is concluded.
“The suspects are illegal dealers in petroleum products and they don’t have licence to operate or sell petroleum products by DPR. In collaboration with DPR, we raided and arrested these people.
“The wrath of the law will follow after due investigation of the involvement in the crime.”
While reacting to the protest by some of the suspects that they were not illegal marketers, the Commandant said “a dealer, as long as I’m concerned is those who have their licence and are certified by DPR to operate. Anybody who is selling, dealing in petroleum products without license is termed as somebody who is sabotaging the federal government’s efforts in the area of distribution of petrol products.”
“They are going to be charged to court in accordance with the laws of the federation.”
“The suspects are illegal dealers in petroleum products and they don’t have the approved licence.”
The DPR Head of Downstream in Abuja, Yerima Kolomi said they were determined to clear people who were into petrol products adulteration, storage and sales without license.
“It has been a menace in the FCT and Abuja in particular. You can see the volume of just one of their depots.”
He said they have been handicapped in carrying out a raid of that nature because of lack of capacity.
“As long as DPR is concerned, these people don’t have the license to operate because they are not registered with us.”
He said apart from selling in an open market, the business was not standardised, adding that their source of supply was not known.