Policemen attached to the Force Headquarters annex have arrested four suspected pipeline vandals in Ikorodu, Lagos State and Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The policemen, who are attached to the Inspector-General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline, also recovered 25,500 litres of petrol and impounded the three vehicles the suspects allegedly used in conveying the product.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Friday Ibadin, who is in charge of the Task Force, said the members of the team had intensified surveillance in the areas where the vandals operated. He said it was during one of such operations that they were able to arrest Segun Ayokanmi, Ibrahim Badamus, Gbenga Boyega and Adebisi Abass.
Ibadin said, “It was in our regular patrol on the June 28, 2012 that the police stumbled on the group which has shifted its base to Ogun State. Some were picked at Ogun State while the others were arrested in Ikorodu. “We are determined with the help the communities where these pipelines are laid to curb the activities of these vandals. Meanwhile, the suspects will soon be charged to court at the end of investigation.”
Ibadin said the policemen impounded two DAF trucks with number plate XP369KSF and KJA364XB containing 500 jerrycans of 50 litres of petrol as well as a Mazda bus with number plate BF767BDG containing 10 jerrycans of 50 litres of petrol. Ayokanmi, one of the arrested suspects, said he was not fully involved in the operation but was only assisting one Seun, who is still at large, to dispose of the products.
He said, “We sell each 50-litre jerrycan of petrol for as low as N1, 800. We have our buyers who include individuals and some petrol stations. All I do is to drop the product and the money would be paid into Seun’s account who normally pays me, N8, 000 per successful trip.” Ayokanmi said he went into oil bunkering because it was less risky than internet fraud which he was doing in the past.
Abass, the suspect, who allegedly provided the two trucks, prayed the police to release him as he was not aware that it was petrol that was being conveyed. Meanwhile, the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, has called on the community to help the police fish out those who had been giving it a bad name by vandalising NNPC pipelines. He also warned vandals to be wary of sabotaging government’s effort.