Operatives of the National Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC) on Friday uncovered illegal fuel bunkering activities at a boundary between Mosan Okunola and Agbado/ Oke Odo Local Council Development Areas of Alimosho, a suburb of Lagos..
The operatives were led by NSCDC Commandant, Tajudeen Balogun to the site where it was discovered that some people had been siphoning petrol from a Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline across a river in the communities.
The pipeline was reportedly vandalised by a syndicate in the area.
Although, the suspected vandals had fled before the arrival of the operatives, but the law enforcement agents recovered some of their tools including long pipes and hose with which fuel is scooped from the vandalised pipeline.
The operatives, however arrested a security officer, Sam Benedict, who was in charge of the toll collection of a makeshift bridge constructed across the river linking the neighbouring communities.
Sam, who denied knowledge of the illicit operation said he was employed by his boss for toll collection ranging from N20 to N200 from pedestrians and motorists.
He added that the business was solely run by his boss who is a lawyer.
Our correspondent observed a couple of tankers parked along some streets leading to the river bank, while no petrol station was sighted in the area.
At the scene, some chairs and empty soft drink containers were seen on the path leading to the vandalized pipeline. The items, according to the NSCDC operatives indicate regular activities in the creek.
The commandant, however, vowed to investigate those behind the operation, noting that appropriate sanctions would be meted on the culprits.
He urged residents of the community to desist from backing criminals involved in vandalism, warning that such could lead to unexpected jeopardy.
Balogun said: “We got an intelligence report from our division here that something fishy was going on in this area and I am here to confirm it. What we have seen is a petroleum pipeline has been vandalised and normally our own duty is to confirm and get across to the appropriate authorities. In this instance, NNPC should come over immediately to seal it up so that our national asset will not be disturbed by wastage, sabotage and miscreants.
“We are still extending our investigations to know the perpetrators of this act because that thing did not just happen. Somebody worked on that pipeline to drill it with the intention of siphoning petrol which is economic sabotage. Our own intelligence group will sniff around to see if there are some collaborators within the community, who are aiding and abetting illegality and will work with the appropriate authorities to see how we can stop this from happening.”
Continuing, he said: “We are working in conjunction with the Lagos state government to clear all the creeks so that doing anything under darkness will not be allowed. We appeal to the communities around here, residents who live here permanently that there is no need to be selfish and supporting criminal to do this kind of act.”
The corps also called the attention of the government to the recent leakages of NNPC pipelines, following the discovery of another fuel well at a school on 2, Taiwo Aina Street.
The commandant emphasized the need for the NNPC to proactively tackle the challenge with proactive measures, noting that the inherent hazards were beyond economic sabotage.
The well, he said, currently poses danger to toddlers who often use the school premises.
“The most important thing is that right now, to avoid a disaster which could be manmade, because when petrol is usually in a place like that, and there is fire, you can imagine what will be the case. To make matters worse, this is the premises of a school. We have little children here,” he added.