20 August 2013, Lagos – The Inspector General of Police Special Taskforce on Pipeline Vandalism, Lagos State zone, on Monday paraded about 10 suspected pipeline vandals arrested at Elepete, Arepo area of Ogun State with about 800 gallons of 50 litres of kerosene.
This came on a day the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Lagos State Command said it had sealed up two compounds at Ishawo in Ikorodu area of the state, where stolen pipeline products were grand-loaded.
The Officer-in-Charge of the Taskforce, Mr Friday Ibadin, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, said the suspects were arrested in batches on Sunday night.
The suspects were identified as Isaac Abejae, Luke Itowu, Towei Terry, PreciuosOsuwo, ZbatominiIsekpe, OweiEbiwei, Power Saikemefa, Samon John, Sunday Agbude and Owoduni Ezekiel.
It was gathered that the taskforce had over time, monitored the suspects, who were notorious in breaking pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and siphoning products afterwards.
However, after intelligence report were collected against the suspects, the taskforce led by the Lagos State Zonal Commander, Mr. OsayandeOnaghise, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, swooped in and made some arrests.
He said: “We got reports that the gang has been operating on NNPC pipelines in the area for more than three days. The zonal commander and his men set up ambush operation for them.
“They were arrested at about 9 p.m. on Sunday. Although, other members of the gang escaped, we are on their trail. We recovered 800 (50 litres) empty jerry cans they attempted to use to siphon the products.
“Other items were three bags of detergent, three big boats and items used in breaking pipelines. The suspects had confessed to the crime. They claimed they were invited by the others who are now at large to work for them.”
He added that: “Some suspects claimed they were invited to carry the jerry cans with products to designated place for some waiting buyers to pick up, while some claimed their duty was to load the products into the boats. Some of them claimed they were promised various amount of money, depending on their task. They will be charge to court as soon as investigation was concluded.”
When asked to warn the vandals, Ibadin said: “I don’t have a warning for them to desist. We want them to continue so we can arrest them. Why should I warn them to desist when we want to clean up all of the?”
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commandant of NSCDC, Mr. AdesuyiDayo, while explained how they got wind of the two compounds, said he had ordered that the compounds be sealed up, after inspecting the area based on a tip-off.
Dayo, who led a team of officers to the area also recovered 121 jerry cans of 50 litres of the stolen products in the compounds, which had since been transferred to the NSCDC command in Ikeja, alongside the landlord of one of the buildings, one Mr. Shola Adelaja.
He called on community leaders and well meaning Nigerians to help the NSCDC in the fight against pipeline vandalism and oil theft.
According to the Public Relations Officer for NSCDC in the state, Mr. MeforChibuzor, the call by the commandant was based on the observation that vandals have been succeeding because of the support they get from the community.
– Chiemelie Ezeobi, This Day