29 November 2014, Lagos – Personnel of the Nigerian Navy (NN) attached to the Ikorodu Anti-pipeline Vandalism Taskforce tagged Operation Awatse, an Hausa word for ‘scatter’, yesterday engaged suspected pipeline vandals in a shoot-out at the Abule Oja area of Lagos where their leader identified as “Blackberry” was killed.
In the exchange of fire, three armed vandals in addition to the kingpin were killed while several others escaped with bullet wounds.
Charged with the task was the Western Naval Command (WNC), who has in the past weeks arrested no fewer than 50 suspected pipeline vandals in the ongoing major operation.
This is in addition to the recovery of more than 10,000 gallons of stolen products siphoned from several vandalised Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines.
The naval taskforce had discovered stolen products stored in 25 and 50 litre kegs, which were covered with leaves and hidden in the belly of the swamps.
Confirming the incident, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade, said the vandals had attacked the patrol team, prompting an exchange of gunfire.
Alade who spoke through his Command Information Officer, Lieutenant Commander Abdulsalam Sani, said “While on routine patrols, our men came under attack in the general area of Abule Oba by some pipeline vandals. An exchange of fire ensued between the vandals and the team of the Nigerian Navy .
“In the process, four armed vandals including the kingpin, alias Blackberry were killed while others escaped with bullet wounds.
” Due to this new dimension in the operation, the Nigerian Navy is poised to protecting lives and properties in that general area. The NN is appealing to the general public not to panic but to about their normal activities.
“We also appeal to the general public to provide useful information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of these nefarious activities”, he said.
– This Day