No fewer than 36 suspects have been arrested, following raids on three companies by the Kwara State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, the state branch of the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Kwara State Command of the Department of State Services.
The Kwara State Commandant, NSCDC, Mr Pedro Ideba, said on Thursday that the affected companies, which were suspected to have engaged in illegal refining and distribution of lubricating oil, were Segmax Company with one Olusegun Jesuwumi as its director; Woopet Ogbus Ventures Ltd, with Wilfred Ogbudimkpa as its managing director; and Manna Biz Ventures, managed by Ibrahim Isiaka.
He alleged that Segmax engaged in illegal refining of engine oil, adding that the company had been selling the products.
He added that Woopet Ogbus Ventures and Manna Biz Ventures allegedly engaged in the distribution of the substandard lubricant.
He said, “The three companies were sealed while further investigations of their illicit practices have been referred to sister security agencies.”
He stated that 26 of the 36 suspects, comprising some customers and employees of the companies, were released after preliminary investigation, adding that 10 suspects were currently being detained by the NSCDC.
He added that no fewer than four trucks allegedly linked to the suspected illegal acts had also been confiscated.
Some of the seizedvehicles
Some of the seizedvehicles
Ideba said, “This is a case of illegally dealing in petroleum product. The owner of Segmax Nigeria Limited, Mr. Olusegun Jesuwumi, is a young man with school certificate and does not know anything about oil production. He started with solo production of engine oil. He graduated into building a factory.
“We carried out surveillance for more than three months. The company’s fence is very high. The production was at night, while distribution was in the early hours of the morning.
“When my men intercepted their trucks, the factory workers wanted to beat them up, but they called for reinforcement.
“When we searched the firm, we discovered other drums of oil and some finished products, which were ready to be distributed.
“They have a laboratory in that place. It is only hydrometer and test tube that are there. There are no safety kits in the factory, and they are dealing in inflammable material. Apart from the danger it posed to those who are producing it, the oil will damage engines of vehicles.
“One of the firm’s marketer is Wopex Ogbus Ventures Ltd. The boss there, Ogbudimkpa, aided the man in this illegal business.”
The Operations Controller, DPR, Kwara State, Mr. Salvation Phillip, said the alleged acts of the companies were serious offences, adding that full investigations had commenced.
Ogbudimkpa said he only bought and distributed petroleum products. He claimed that he did not know that any of the companies he patronised, especially Segmax, engaged in illegal activities.
Isiaka also denied that his company was involved in illegal refining and distribution of a substandard product.
He said his company was licensed to buy and sell lubricants. He claimed to have documents to prove that the products on the premises of the company were bought from genuine producers of lubricants.
Jesuwumi, who confessed to engaging in illegal refining and distribution of engine oil pleaded for forgiveness.
He stated that he was contributing to industrial growth of the nation, adding that he had about 14 employees.
He claimed to have notified the Standard Organisation of Nigeria that his company was producing and marketing the lubricant, and had requested SON to give him more time for him to raise money to legalise the operations of his company.
He said, “Nigerians should help me so that my ambition will not die. I have 14 workers and I pay them salary.
“I need the support of Nigerians, I am not producing fake. I want to help Nigeria grow industrially.”