Customs Officer Detained For Exposing ‘Booming Petrol Smuggling Business, Says He Has Evidence To Nail Senior Colleagues
Owombo Segun John, a Customs officer arrested and detained for exposing how refined petroleum products, particularly Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, are trafficked into Cameroon, Chad, Niger Republic, and other African countries, has spoken out since his detention.
The Nigerian Customs officer, in a video posted by one Durodola Ologunowa on Facebook on June 17, narrated how he underwent various tests while in detention and was accused of using hard drugs.
He said one of the tests showed he tested positive for Hepatitis B and the doctor advised the service that he should be allowed to get treatment.
He said, “My name is Segun Owombo, a superintendent of the Nigeria customs. I was the one detained in November 2022 for exposing how people were smuggling fuel to neighbouring countries like Cameroon.
“Due to this, they tested me for all manner of things. They accused me of using hard drugs but the tests did not show anything like that. The doctor said I had Hepatitis B and advised that I should be allowed to go and get treatment. They thought the disease would kill me.
“God will bless the righteous people in Nigeria who mounted pressure on my behalf. I was the one invited from my checkpoint. I am the one there who is from the south and practises a different religion. But now, they have asked all the others to report to Abuja. I want Nigerians to follow up on the matter. Controller Jalo should come and state his side of the story. Also, Amu Garba and the one who threatened to shoot me dead, OC Liaison, Adamu should be called. I have evidence against them.
“Those who want to destroy Nigerians, it is their things that will be destroyed. Anyone that wants to say the truth here, they will find a way to implicate them.
SaharaReporters had reported that Segun Owombo who exposed how refined petroleum products, particularly Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, are being trafficked to some other African nations has no mental illness, according to his medical report.
Owombo was arrested after releasing a video in which he narrated how some smugglers he arrested on November 2, 2022, at Malabo Checkpoint on Belel Road, Adamawa State, were freed by his superiors.
It was reported in November 2022 how Owombo was transported to Abuja from Adamawa State to meet with the Comptroller General of Customs while in detention.
It was also reported that Owombo was set to undergo certain tests while in detention.
According to the results of the psychiatric test performed at Karu General Hospital in Abuja and obtained by SaharaReporters, the results showed that he had no obvious abnormalities.
“The above named is a staff of your organization who presented in the company of his colleague in our facility on the 6th December, 2022 for Psychological Assessment on account of undue suspicion of his colleagues,” the report addressed the Comptroller General of Custom read.
“History, Mental Status Examination and Physical Examination carried out at presentation revealed no obvious abnormalities, however the Psychological Test administer on him which includes Symptom Checklist – SCL90 and Eyensick Personality-EPQ revealed Paranoid Ideation, Interpersonal Sensitivity and Obsessive Compulsive thought based on his scare in the symptom checklist.
“He is therefore recommended for both Medical treatment and Psychological intervention.”
In November 2019, the NCS announced a directive that restricted petroleum products from being supplied to fuel stations within 20 kilometres of the borders.
Prior to that, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company raised the alarm about the increasing number of filling stations in border towns, saying they were funnels for fuel smuggling to neighbouring countries.
With millions of Nigerians grappling with periodic fuel shortages at the time, the porous borders, spanning over 17,000 kilometres, made it possible for the product to be smuggled to these neighbouring countries easily.
According to a recent report by Deutsche Welle (DW), a German public state-owned international broadcaster, smugglers are having a field day selling Nigerian fuel at cheaper rates than the conventional petrol stations in Cameroon.
The DW report noted that although the exact volume of smuggled Nigerian petrol to Cameroon was not known, local media reports in Cameroon put the ‘black market’ illegal trade at $5 million (about N1.905 billion) every year.
According to a survey by the German media in Maroua, the capital city of the Far North region of Cameroon, stolen fuel from neighbouring Nigeria is readily available for sale.
Even when Nigerians were faced with shortages, it was learnt that the supply was constant in Cameroon.
In August 2022, Timipre Sylva, the then-Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, estimated that every day, over 400,000 barrels of crude were stolen in Nigeria.
According to Sylva, massive crude oil theft was affecting Nigeria’s ability to meet OPEC’s daily quota.
Sylva was the junior petroleum resources minister while then-President Muhammadu Buhari was the senior petroleum resources minister.