15 January 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Security operatives of the MRS Oil and Gas Company severely beat up a representative of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, for taking shots with his camera during the explosion that rocked its storage facility last week.
Disclosing this to DPR’s Director, Mr. Osten Olorunisola, the victim, names withheld, told the DPR boss he was mercilessly beaten up by the security engaged by the company for carrying out his official duty.
Olorunisola, who expressed shock at the way one of his officers was man-handled apologised to him and promised that the matter would be investigated.
The victim who recalled his ordeal complained to his boss, “I was called a thief and a tout and all sorts before the security officials of MRS then came to man-handled me and beat me up seriously.”
Another DPR official also noted that the man-handling of one of its staff was not new, adding that the MRS security operatives had been giving the agency officials a lot of problems and that DPR was making moves to curtail the trend.
He said that DPR has written to the management of MRS with a view to discussing and resolving the matter once and for all.
However, an MRS official who volutered an explanation (unidentified), said the DPR staff was seen taking photographs with his mobile phone when everyone was running for safety, when the security officials accosted and cautioned him.
He denied that the officer was not beaten, saying, “Basically nobody was man-handled. The truth of the matter is that in the midst of the stampede and confusion, the representative was taking pictures. Every body’s phones were seized including the Managing Director of Folawiyo, and everybody who came to support us. So anybody caught taking pictures at that time had his or her phone seized.
“That was what happened with the DPR representative and the security at the gate took over control of the security of the entire premises.”
Speaking on the development, the MRS Group Executive Director, Mrs Amina Maina, said she was not aware that a DPR representative was beaten up by the security officials, and apologised to the official.
She stated that the visit of the DPR executive director was not best time to resolve the matter, adding that if there were any issues between MRS security operatives and DPR representatives, they need to sit and resolve them.
“We apologise for whatever has happened to the official of DPR, and I think it is as a result of the confusion,” she said.