Police nab two suspects vandalizing NNPC pipelines at Ejigbo
By Felix Kuyinu
The Lagos State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of two suspects and others who specialize in vandalizing petroleum pipelines at Ikotun area of Lagos state.
The alleged saboteurs were arrested on Sunday by policemen at Ikotun Division for vandalizing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines, at the Omo Onile area of Ikotun, causing a decrease of petroleum loading activities at the Ejigbo Depot.
The vandals, alongside others at large were alleged to have loaded about two tankers, before they fled on sighting policemen, while they were loading fuel into third tanker.
Echonews gathered that the suspects were sighted by an operative of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), who was on his way to work in the early hours of the day.
The unnamed policeman alerted one of his colleagues attached to the Ikotun Division who promptly mobilised his men to the scene.
On sighting the policemen, the suspects were said to have left their tankers to force an escape, but they were promptly apprehended by the police and taken to the station for prosecution.
A senior police officer who preferred his name kept under wraps stated that on getting to the scene, other residents in the area were also caught while scooping fuel.
“The incident happened around 4 am on Monday. An operative of IRT who sighted the vandals alerted me on the telephone and I moved my men to the scene, said the Police office officer.
“On getting to the scene, I quickly alerted a chieftain of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers’ (PTDA) Association at Ejigbo NNPC Depot, because we met the pipeline spilling fuel at the scene.
“We had altercation with the operatives of a para-military agency, who claimed that it was their responsibility to handle the case, albeit, but we rebuffed them because the police have statutory general duty obligations and we are not restricted in our mandate to protect lives and property.
“On our invitation, men of the Lagos State Fire Service and officials of NNPC also came to the scene to prevent fire outbreak and secure the place.
“The Lagos State Police Commissioner subsequently directed that the matter be transferred to the IRT’s office in Ikeja, hence, the suspects and their tankers are now being detained there.’’
A chieftain of PTDA, who did not want his name in print described the incident ‘’as one too many, which has affected our operations drastically, so much so that we no longer have enough fuel to load into tankers at the depot.”
“Before now, we used to load up to 1,200 tankers per day at Ejigbo NNPC Depot, but the figure has reduced to paltry 200 because of shortage of fuel arising from the activities of vandals in the last few weeks. Now, because of the latest incident, we only managed to load 40 trucks today.
“It’s an indictment on the para-military outfit deployed to secure oil installation in the country that vandals have increased the tempo of their nefarious operations in Lagos State.”