Officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDCs, have arrested 60 persons suspected of siphoning petrol from oil pipeline at Majidun area of Ikorodu, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Tapping fuel illegally from pipelines is common at Majidun, a suburb of Lagos, where villagers specialize in oil bunkering, raking in millions of naira from the illegal deal.
Officials of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit had at several times raided suburbs in Ikorodu to confront the oil thieves making a living in the trade.
However, NSCDC officials stormed the area on Sunday night and discovered several kegs of fuel but were repelled by the vandals.
Fully armed NSCDC officials launched another raid this morning in the area and succeeded in arresting 60 suspected thievesafter villagers attacked them with cutlasses, guns, bottles, among others.
“At least, seven of my men are seriously injured by the villagers. They attacked our men with guns, cutlasses, broken bottles and other dangerous weapons,” says NSCDC’s spokesman, Obafaiye Shem, who addressed journalists after the raid.
“Yesterday night, we got security tip that vandals were operating at Majidun area of Ikorodu, our men went there and saw several kegs of PMS and came with several of them. This morning, we got wind of vandals in the area again.
“We have to go back and the villagers came out to attack my men, but we succeeded in arresting 60 of them. We have received report that a baale in the area is behind the operation. My boys were attacked and wounded,” added Shem, who is the Commandant, Lagos NSCDC.
He warned that it was not going to be business as usual as the command had vowed to eradicate vandalism from Lagos, adding that the arrested suspects would be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC.
“I am not a bunkerer but a mechanic. I did not attack any civil defence official,” says one of the suspects, Adekoya Adebanjo, saying that his arrest was unjust and illegal.
Another suspect, Kamorudeen Raji said he deals in sand business and that he was wrongly arrested as he had never been a vandal; likewise, Shina John, who claimed to be a tipper driver, saying he was arrested inside the Tipper Garage.
A 55-year old man, Adeniji Ganiyu told P.M. NEWS that he came to the area to buy sand and that he just withdrew N120, 000 from the bank to pay for the sand while he displayed the money for newsmen to see, saying he never attacked civil defence officials.
Many others claimed they were sand dealers and that they were arrested while doing their businesses.