Arepo explosion: Armed vandals barricade creeks, evacuate dead colleagues

24 July 2015, Lagos – The fire from the explosion at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, pipeline at Arepo area of Ogun State, ignited by rival vandals Wednesday, was put out in the early hours of yesterday, following a forceful shut down of supply by NNPC.

Pipeline fire

Pipeline fire

This is just as armed vandals were said to have barricaded the creeks to wade off any intruder, as they recovered the bodies of their burnt colleagues.

Meanwhile, National Coordinator of Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Otunba Gani Adams, has blamed the spate of pipeline vandalisation on Federal Government’s decision to withdraw its pipeline protection contract.

In a statement by OPC’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Yinka Oguntimehin, Adams lamented that the issue of pipeline protection “is much more complex than merely protecting the pipelines.

“It involves intelligence gathering, which ultimately should involve the people. This was the strategy we employed while protecting the pipelines.

“The result of that strategy was our ability to curtail the activities of vandals.

“It is no doubt regrettable that in less than one month after our men quit the job, more than 200 deaths have been recorded as a result of the activities of pipeline vandals.”

At press time, no security agency or NNPC official had visited scene of the fire to ascertain the level of damage, or for the bodies of vandals said to have been burnt beyond recognition.

Vanguard was reliably informed that some security personnel, who attempted to go into the creeks retreated midway, following the discovery of heavily armed vandals.

Though there were journalists at the path leading to the creeks, no one dared to go beyond the river bank, as armed vandals were said to have laid ambush for anyone who dared to tread the terrain.

A security watch tower built by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism before the surveillance of the creeks was contracted out to a private security outfit by the past administration, was seen abandoned.

Billowing smoke was visible from the creeks.

Vanguard reliably gathered that vandals that sustained varying degrees of burns were reportedly being treated by their colleagues in make-shift buildings in the creeks.

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