The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Abeokuta field office, on Thursday arrested three persons for allegedly operating an illegal gas plant in Magboro, a town off the Ibafo-Mowe highway in Ogun state.
The DPR Controller of Operations, Mrs Muinat Bello-Zagi, who led a team comprising officials of the agency and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on a routine surveillance, also sealed off the plant and vowed to prosecute the owner.
The arrested persons had been handed over to the Ogun State Command of the NSCDC for prosecution.
Mrs Bello-Zagi noted that the DPR had sealed some illegal gas plants before today’s operation, but lamented that many of the plants were reopened by their owners without the approval of the DPR.
Speaking particularly on the plant at Magboro, the Controller said the DPR had once invited the owner to its office and warned him to relocate his plant to a more suitable location.
The owner, she added, had however, continued to operate the plant “illegally”.
She said, “This is not the first time we discovered this place. The first time we did, we served it a notice and sealed the facility. We then invited the owner to our office in Abeokuta and he turned up.
“We explained to him that anybody who wants to do anything that has to do with oil and gas should do it safely and in accordance with the guidelines and laws. And he promised to look for a suitable site.
“However, on another occasion when we came to the plant, we discovered he was still operating it and we had to lock up the facility with a padlock.”