The Department of Petroleum Resources said it has uncovered an illegal engine oil processing plant in Sokoto.
The DPR’s Controller of Operations in charge of Sokoto Field Office, Mr. Muhammad Makera, disclosed this during a news conference in Sokoto on Wednesday.
He said DPR officials discovered the illegal plant during routine inspection.
Makera said the operation was carried out in collaboration with officials of the Department of State Security Services and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
He said that a 33,000-litre capacity truck with registration number WMK 220 XA was also impounded while discharging base oil into drums at a filling station in Sokoto metropolis.
He said that 83 drums already fully loaded by the truck were impounded.
”No fewer than 166 drums were impounded while 83 of them were already filled with the products.
”DPR officials also found an empty stationary storage tank of about 30,000 litres capacity at the backyard of the filling station,” Makera said.
He said that the truck loaded the products from one of the depots in Lagos.
He explained that both the owner and the truck driver were arrested adding that a suspect led the DPR officials to a shop in Hajia Halima market where different brands of lubricant oil were discovered.
According to him, the products were impounded and sample of each brand was taken to laboratory for analysis to ascertain the quality of the packed branded products.
Makera said that the premises was not registered for the business as DPR regulates all petroleum products activities.
He stressed that the base oil intercepted was not a lubricant but a raw material for processing it.
He said that the DPR believed that the suspects were selling the base oil directly to consumers, an action which he described as illegal.
The DPR official said the owners were operating illegally without the required permission from the department.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commandant of NSCDC, Sokoto State command, Mr Ajayi Akirun, said that five suspects were taken into custody over the incident.
He said that the organisation was also in the custody of all the exhibits found in their possession.
Akirun said that they would be charged to court after conclusion of investigations.