The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday evening destroyed over 6,000 empty jerrycans and three wooden boats used in syphoning Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), known as petrol, from Badagry to neighbouring countries.
Speaking with the newsmen before the destruction, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command (WNC) Operation, said the community, Iyafin, Badagry, is a notorious place for smuggling.
Hassan said, “Today is seventh day of Operation Water Guard and by the second day of the operation, we have made a massive catch. I promised to bring you to the warehouse of the perpetrators.
“We are here in Iyafin, a community in Badagry and a notorious place for smuggling.
“You can see right behind me that we have thousands of jerrycans. Our mission, here, is to stop the smuggling and we believe destruction of these jerrycans is one of the way to stop this crime.
“We are here to stop smuggling act by these perpetrators and this is our landward and inland incursion towards stopping the crime.
“We are going to do more by extending our reach beyond Badagry because we know it happens all the way towards Ogun State and all.
“I’m running on government resources and I have the energy. We are making all efforts to cut short the activities of these criminals; I will keep working until they get tired.
“After this community here, we will still focus more on Ashipa Community in Seme,” he said.
Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command Operation addressing community leaders in Iyafin, Badagry.
Hassan, also the Commander, South West Joint Task Force Operation AWATSE, said he would work with his land forces to reduce smuggling of petroleum products.
He warned those involving in smuggling activities to desist and find legitimate work to do.
“I think they have had a free ride for a long time. So, now that they have seen our seriousness of deploying helicopters, camera and air sets, with time we will defeat them as long as I don’t stop.
“This is a continuous operation, I have the mandate of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral E.I. Ogalla,” he said.
The Flag Officer warned community leaders in Iyafin to stop hoarding jerrycans in their houses.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) observed that some vehicles loaded with jerrycans were also impounded by the naval personnel on way back from the destruction.
NAN reports that Operation Water Guard was flagged off on Nov. 9 by Nigerian Navy, to make the Nigerian waters and borders unattainable for maritime criminals and smugglers alike.
NAN also reports that the naval officers with the FOC were the Commander, NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga and Navy Capt. Adams- Aliu, the Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, Badagry.