Pipeline vandalism: TUC wants IG to investigate police role

Vandalised-pipelineEluonye Konyegwuaehi

06 September 2014, Sweetcrude, Houston – TRADE Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has expressed concern over the increasing role of some unscrupulous men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, in the pipeline vandalism and called on the Acting Inspector General of Police to wade in to expose those conniving with vandals.

In a statement by its President and Secretary General, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama and Barrister Musa Lawal, TUC said “The increasing incidence of fissures among officers and men of state security agencies is worrisome. The latest incident involving officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, was reported to have happened at Owutu area of Ikorodu where a committee that included the Commandant General of the Corps, Mr. Ade Abolurin, and his men along with officers of the Nigerian Army, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Office of Attorney General of the Federation, and some other persons was said to have been on an inspection-and-assessment tour of disposable forfeited items, only to find themselves being threatened at gun-point by a police inspector and his men who claimed the territory was theirs.

“We feel particularly concerned because we believe that the presence of security operatives at such a trouble spot, irrespective of their respective agencies, should boost efforts to secure the nation’s pipelines from vandals. Unfortunately the contrary appears to be the case, and one wonders if security operatives are meant to shield the vandals. Or what else are we to make of a situation where officers of a particular security arm confront those from other arms in such spots and tell them that they are encroaching into “their territory?” If their motives were right, should those antagonistic policemen not have welcomed the presence of officers who came from sister agencies to offer assistance in checking the activities of pipeline vandals and oil thieves?

“Our country is today facing serious security challenges that have led to mass destruction of lives and property, a situation that has been accentuated by proliferation of arms and ammunition with the connivance of a few misguided security operatives. Surely it is unacceptable that the genuine efforts of the government and patriotic security operatives who stake their lives and resources to protect us and our economic interests should be sabotaged by the fifth columnists. Thus we salute the courage and forthrightness of Mr. Abolurin and his men who, notwithstanding the threat to their lives, arrested some vandals and oil thieves in possession of several gallons of petroleum products loaded in two Cotonou-bound boats.

“The Congress implores the new Inspector General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, to call his erring officers to order and ensure that they conform to the government’s agenda on security and economic transformation. This is not the first time such breaches as occasioned by the likes of the aforementioned police inspector and his men have been known to happen. For instance in 2013 two men of the anti-pipeline vandalisation squad of the Lagos State Command of NSCDC, namely Messrs. AIC Gabriel Adaji and IC Innocent Akegbe, were killed by policemen in similar questionable circumstances.

We vehemently insist that no policeman or other security officer has any right to shoot or even point a gun at another who has not violated any law of the land. Any act to the contrary must be checked, as it is criminal and portends grave implications for the society. And all culprits should be promptly apprehended and punished to deter others from treading the same unholy path. A stitch in time saves nine.”

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