The Nigeria Army has intercepted a truck transporting about 16,000 litres of adulterated diesel for sale to unsuspecting users in Port Harcourt and environs.
The illegally refined diesel was stored inside 80 drums and worth over N14 million on street values.
Brig.-Gen. Eddie Effiong, Commander of 6 Division Garrison, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt, spoke while presenting the seized truck and petroleum product to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
He said the truck was arrested on Sunday along Okporowo Road in Ahoada East Local Government by army troops at a security checkpoint in the area.
“This arrest reveals another dimension of illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta, devised by oil thieves to deceive unsuspecting security personnel on routine duty.
“Normally, illegally refined products are conveyed in tanker trucks but this seizure shows that they are now transporting illicit products via container trucks meant for goods.
“Ordinarily, if this adulterated diesel was in a tanker truck, it would have been easily detected. This shows the extent to which people can go to commit crime.
He said the fake diesel was packaged in such a manner that would easily deceive personnel on security checkpoints to think the truck was conveying goods or frozen foods.
“But our troops acting on credible information laid an ambush for the truck, and on opening it; they found 80 carefully arranged drums laden with illegally refined diesel.
“We want them (oil thieves) to understand that as they are devising new methods that we equally devise our own means to catch them.
“Henceforth, if drivers of trucks are stopped on the road for searching, they shouldn’t get angry, because everything now can be used to convey illegally refined petroleum products,” he added.
Effiong, who is also the Commander of Sector 3, Operation Delta Safe Military Joint Task Force said no arrest was made at the scene of the seizure.
According to him, the occupants of the truck abandoned their vehicle and escaped into the nearby bush on sighting the army checkpoint up ahead of them.