The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) Ibrahim Magu has warned Petroleum Tanker Drivers of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers( NUPENG) in the Niger Delta area, to steer clear of products diversion and collusion with illegal oil bunkers.
He gave the warning through the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, when Executives of Petroleum Tanker Drivers of NUPENG paid him a Courtesy Visit.
According to him, tanker drivers are increasingly getting involved in illegal oil bunkering crimes through product diversions and carriage of illegal petroleum products.
“Your members are being used for illegal diversion of products. Your organization is protecting criminals from being arrested and this is worrisome. Your organization, NUPENG is known for comradeship, not collusion. Right now, we have over 500 Trucks in our custody for investigation and possible prosecution on illegal oil bunkering. This is not good enough. You must desist from this practice, ” he said.
Magu charged the drivers to come forward with modalities of tackling illegal movements of their trucks in order to stem the tide of daily arrests.
“You can come up with how to monitor movements of your trucks. You can look into tracking of your trucks. It is obvious that those illegal oil bunkers refining illegal products are in business because they are sure that your members are available to convey the products, ” he said.
He also tasked the drivers to key into the whistle blowing policy of the government by offering useful information to the EFCC on the activities of drivers suspected to be fraudulent.
In his response, Chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, Comrade Ezenwa Kinglsley, expressed appreciation to the EFCC for the visit. He explained that NUPENG had never supported any of its members involved in products diversion or collusion with illegal oil bunkers.
“In all our meetings, we have a policy that the union can never cover up or associate with anyone caught in any illegality. We made billboards of culprits of product diversion. We have a Task Force checking any form of infraction by our members. Once you are caught, we will bring you out”, he said.
Another member of the delegation to the EFCC, Comrade Moses Benibo said that his union was becoming helpless over the activities of the rouge drivers because ” there are big shots involved in the business of products diversion and our lives could be at risk if we tackle them on our own.”