A combined team of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and security agents on Sunday uncovered illegal reservoirs of fuel in Abuja.
Speaking at the site of the mini depot, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, said it was saddening to make such discoveries in the city centre when less than 500 meters away, motorists were on endless queues.
No fewer than 200-liter drums, and 500 liter tanks, besides hundreds of jerry cans, were uncovered during the sting operation .
Baru said the perpetrators have caused untold pain and hardship on Nigerians during a crucial season as Christmas.
“In the war room (where crucial issues are discussed during fuel crises), we asked ourselves why the situation (fuel queues) persists.
“We got an intelligence report of these mini depots and as you can see, these golf cars that are supposed to have 40 litres have tanks that can take 200 liters of petrol.
“This other one is a mini depot. Although some of the products are diesel, the DPR says it is unauthorised. We have over 50 days supply of diesel and so there is no reason to hoard the product.’’
The Abuja Zonal Controller of DPR, Mohammed Abba, told journalists “we have arrested 20 people in connection with those who sell in jerry cans in Zone One alone and their facilities.
“We are handing them over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, because the DPR has no capabilities to prosecute.
“We will test for forensic analysis and we will pursue the case to court’’.
Aminu Abdullahi, Assistant Commandant-General Operations, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, confirmed receiving the 20 suspects.
We have received the suspects and DPR will be called in for forensic analysis to test what was handed over,’’ he said.