Incidents of illegal crude oil refining is common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region but this is the first of such instance in Sokoto, which is a non-oil producing State.
Babangida Dutsin-ma, the Sokjoto State NSCDC Commandant, said this during an interview wit NAN on Friday.
He said the “mini refinery”, which was being operated from a rented apartment, was discovered by operatives of the NSCDC surveillance team. The apartment belongs to a popular Sokoto businessman and is located along Bodinga road in the outskirt of Sokoto metropolis.
“The NSCDC anti-vandal team on surveillance detected the centre in which those involved in the adulteration dug a big hole using a large tank in perpetrating the act,” Dutsin-ma said.
“The ditch is connected to a transformer from which they tap electricity for heating the adulterated products,’’ he added.
He also said that preliminary investigation showed that the “criminals” use adulterate Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, and black oil to produce various petroleum products, which they then push into the black market for sale to unsuspecting consumers.
Dutsin-ma said that the perpetrators of the act fled the scene on sighting officials of the NSCDC, but added that some of their equipment were confiscated.
They include jerry cans, empty metal drums, electric cables and containers, used in adulterating the petroleum products.
He urged members of the public to assist the command with useful information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects.