Three suspected vandals have been arrested by the Lagos state command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, after they perforated a high-pressure pipeline in Baruwa area of Lagos state. The pipeline is a major artery that convey petrol pumped from Atlas Cove, a key receptive facility to other states in the south west and parts of north central. The suspects were arrested Tuesday after community vigilante alerted the Baale of the area, Alh. Khalid Baruwa who raised alarm and quickly called in the NSCDC and the Police.
According to NSCDC, one suspect was earlier held after others escaped in the early hours of the morning and another two were later picked in the day. The three suspects are currently being detained at the head office of the NSCDC in Alausa, Ikeja where they are being interrogated in preparation for prosecution. State commander of the NSCDC, Tajudeen Balogun in an interview with LEADERSHIP said his men were alerted by the community who quickly swung into action and made the arrests.
Balogun said the suspects would be charged to court as soon as preliminary investigations were concluded, warning that the NSCDC has put its personnel on high alert following reports of return of criminal elements around key petroleum conveyor facilities. He said the agency is collaborating with other sister security agencies with capacity to monitor and access difficult terrains around such facilities so that vandals are not given the chance to operate. Also, LEADERSHIP gathered that about 94 cellophane sacks each containing 200 liters of petrol were seized during the operation, which the commander said would be handed over to the Pipeline and Petroleum Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, which operates the pipelines.
One of the suspects, Mr. Aliyah James, aged 32, confessed to our Correspondent that he was actually involved in the crime. James who hail from Delta state said he stays at Agbowa area of Ikorodu.
Giving account of his involvement he said, “ I am a Gospel artist and was living in Delta state until recently I relocated to Lagos. On Sunday September 30 I was invited by a friend called Ebi Otu that we have a job to do. I didn’t know the kind of job but I know from what he said that it is not a genuine business. “When I got there, there were other boys who are experts in using hose to syphon petrol from the pipeline so my role was to drag the products which is filled into huge cellophane bags through the creek to a waiting truck. We started the operation on Sunday night but we ran into logistics problems as the vehicle which Otu arranged disappointed. “Five of us were involved but when they sighted the security men they ran away, including Otu. This is my first time to be involved in stealing petrol from pipeline but I will confess that I knew I was going for an illegal operation though we did not carry arms, I am regretting being involved in this kind of thing and I vow never to go back to it” said the suspect. The two other suspects, Sunday Egunyomi 45 years who claimed to be a carpenter and Adeyemi Ogunlaja, 43 years, a bricklayer denied involvement in the crime. In their own account, they said they were around the vicinity to survey a land which one of their friends intend to buy, and never knew criminals were operating in the area.
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