20180407

Army intercepts lorry conveying stolen fuel, arrests suspected owner

Army operatives attached to the Bravo Company, 143 Battalion, at Umunneochi Local Government Area in Abia State, have intercepted a lorry conveying over 16,000 litres of illegal diesel while on a stop-and-search operation.

It was gathered that the soldiers, who were under the 14 Brigade, Ohafia, also arrested the suspected owner of the product identified only as Kanayo.

It was also learnt that the driver of the lorry with Registration Number ABN 686 XA, took to his heels when the vehicle was stopped at the check point.

According to military sources, the diesel was found in a tank specially constructed inside the lorry, while it was covered with over 200 bags branded as animal feed.

The source added that a careful search on the vehicle revealed that the content of the bags was sawdust, while the petroleum product was buried in the midst of the bags.

The Chief of Staff to the Brigade, Commander Col. E.U Effiong, has confirmed the incident, Punch reports.

Effiong, who spoke while handing over the suspect and the impounded vehicle to the Abia State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, said the suspect was among those arrested in the month of March.

He said, “In the course of our duty in the state, we carry out patrols and during such patrols, if we suspect any crime, arrest is being made and when we arrest, we hand over the suspects to the appropriate security agency in charge of the crime committed for further investigation and prosecution.

“If the suspects are found guilty, the law will take its course. What we are doing today is in line with our own part of internal security operation, which is the secondary role of supporting the police and other security agencies to aid civil authority.

“This has been going on between the military, police, civil defence and the Road Safety Corps. We pray that as we cooperate and play our own part, Abia State will continue to remain peaceful for people to go about their normal business.”

Confessing to the crime, Kanayo admitted that he bought the diesel in Port Harcourt.

He denied that the product was stolen and added that he was arrested while convening the diesel to Enugu State where he would sell the product to distributors.

The suspect also admitted that he had no licence to lift petroleum products, saying that he has been in the business for one year.

When asked why he had covering papers that claimed he bought animal feed, he blamed it on the driver of the lorry who is now at large.

“I bought the diesel from the right source and they gave me receipt, I don’t know how the driver came up with the animal feed paper,” he claimed.

The soldiers also arrested one Okeke Maduabuchi, who allegedly robbed an Aba resident of his Toyota Sienna car at gunpoint.

Military sources said the suspect was arrested at Ihube in Imo State, while two of his accomplices were currently at large.

The military also handed over the suspect and the car to the Aba Area Command of the Nigeria Police for further investigation and prosecution.