‘Oil wells’: Lagos faults arrest of residents

GovFasholaLagosState 02 September 2013, Lagos – The Lagos State Government says it is not comfortable with the indiscriminate arrests of some state residents around Idimu/Ejigbo areas over the discovery of some wells containing fuel instead of water.

The government said it was concerned because the law enforcement agencies did not conduct a proper investigation to establish whether the people arrested were actually responsible for the action or whether it was a mere incident.

The Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, said this in a statement on Sunday.

He said any arrest without a thorough investigation to ascertain the degree of neglect by relevant government agencies would be wrong.

He added that such action was like punishing the people for an offence that they were not responsible for.

He said, “While the state government supports every action of the Federal Government to curb stealing of petroleum products and pipeline vandalisation, it frowns at any act that could constitute an infraction on the rights of residents through wantonly unjust arrests by officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.”

Bello said past and present administrations in the state had drawn the attention of the Federal Government to hazards being experienced by residents of Baruwa- Ipaja, Ilado, Amuwo-Odofin and Ejigbo through polluted boreholes, contamination of underground water, ruptured pipelines and seepage of pipelines, without any response.

The commissioner said, “The state government has records showing that official letters were written by the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000.

“More importantly, the present administration of Mr. Babatunde Fashola equally wrote a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, respectively, complaining about the serious oil pollution and high level of degradation that residents of these areas are daily exposed to without any meaningful response.”

Bello insisted that NNPC must conduct an integrity test on its pipelines in the state, as well as provide the state government with information to prevent future recurrence.

– The Punch

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