A suspect has squealed on the Pipeline Vandalisation Union, narrating how members of the notorious gang killed three engineers of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporatioin (NNPC) on September 5 last year in the creeks near Arepo Village, Ogun State.
Jigo Jiperede aka Tokiwe told the operatives of the Inspector-General of Police (IG) Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit, the NNPC officials were attacked together with a local security guard, identified with simply as Taye.
The security man had accompanied the NNPC engineers to repair petroleum pipelines damages by the vandals. Speaking after his arrest, the suspect said they decided to kill the NNPC local security man because he was a saboteur. He, however, regretted that they had no choice than to also kill the engineers who were at the scene. “We discovered that Taye, the local security man is a saboteur.
We pay him regularly to stop giving NNPC information and at the end of the day, he would inform them. Normally, any part of the pipeline that we opened will be closed and controlled by us without the knowledge of NNPC. For some time, our job was paused due to Taye’s constant betrayal. He is the one that alerts them that we are at work in the creeks. “On that day, he called Timi Koro, his brother who is also a vandal that they were repairing a ruptured pipeline and that they were heavily armed.
Timi informed us and we decided to deal with him for betraying us again. We went after them and opened fire after warning Taye that the end had come for him.” “We dumped their bodies by the waterside because we knew that other security men could come. But when they did not come, we went back at night and buried them. Taye’s family came and took his corpse. He betrayed us, that is why he was killed. The NNPC officials got into the way while we were shooting and were killed. Next time, they should flee.”
On how he was recruited, Jigo recalled: “I joined the illegal business sometime in 2007 when my business was no longer doing well. I was introduced to the business by a friend called Jilo who died in one of the fire outbreaks. It was in 2009 that they decided to form an association called the Pipeline Vandalization Union with Jagun as the overall chairman. The association’s duty is to control the sale of the products to our big buyers and training of personnel to reduce cases of fire outbreaks. Some of us were trained to handle weapons and provide adequate security for our boys when they are working.
Asked how he was arrested, Jigo said: “It was one of the vandals that left his gun in the car which he parked in my compound. I was arrested because the car was stolen. I am not a robber, I make good money as a vandal, so why should I risk my life snatching cars.” Friday Ibadin, an Assistant Commissioner of Police who spoke on the suspect arrest, said they were gradually closing in on the entire team that participated in the killing of the NNPC staff. According to Ibadin, policemen led by Sector Commander, Lagos, DSP Onaghise Osayande, were gradually tracking down the rest who had been on the run. He commended the efforts of NNPC management team in providing what it took to fight those vandals.
“With the recent mounting of several platforms for a closer surveillance of NNPC pipeline across the country, it would help to reduce the activities of vandals to the barest minimum. Meanwhile, some of the survivors of the attack on the NNPC engineers recounted how they managed to escape death on the day suspected vandals killed their colleagues. One of the survivors, Joseph Abua, who left the scene wounded, said he was able to crawl into the bush where he was saved by a farmer. “I am a casual worker with NNPC and was posted to the maintenance department.
On September 5, 2012, Deputy Manager Maintenance, Engineer Agbako, Ernest Ngene, Ikechukwu Ekeneme, Erubodo Sade, Tunde and I left for Arepo at about 8am to repair the ruptured pipeline. “Few minutes after we arrived the spot and started work, we noticed a boat approaching. The local security man Taye popularly known as ‘Deadman’ told us not to worry as he would handle them. He spoke to them in Ijaw language but I was able to hear when he told them in English that they should go back that we were here to repair the ruptured pipeline.
“They started shouting at Taye. At that point, Engineer Agbako asked Sade who was in the water to come out that there was trouble. Just as he was about to climb out of the water, the vandals opened fire at us while the security men who were with us shot back at them. I was shot at twice before I jumped into the water and swam across to the bank of the river. “I overheard Engineer Agbako pleading with them to stop shooting. They shouted at him, saying ‘It is because you are still alive that you have the guts to talk.’
They opened fire on them. I crawled in the bush for about eight hours before I met a farmer who took me to NNPC medical unit in Arepo. Those boys were heavily armed. There was no way one would have survived.” Another survivor, Erubodo Sade claimed that it was the charm that he had on his waist that made it impossible for the bullets to penetrate after being shot at severally. “I have been with NNPC for the past 10 years at its Mosimi Depot.
As usual Engineer Agbako called that we would be going to repair a ruptured pipeline at Arepo axis. Because it is a dangerous terrain, he made arrangement with some Ijaw men who were armed to help take us to the spot in the creek. When we got there, I went inside the water and started pegging the ruptured pipeline. Twenty minutes later, a boat approached with heavily armed men who were brandishing their weapons for us to see. I wanted to jump out immediately but Engineer Agbako asked that I should remain there, that there was no cause for alarm as the Ijaw men with us would calm them down.
“When they got closer, they started shouting in Ijaw language, while those men with us answered them. Suddenly they opened fire on us. It was like in movie. Everybody jumped into the water. I was able to swim across to the bank despite the heavy shooting, followed by two other engineers with their bodies riddled with bullets. Unfortunately, Engineer Agbako, Ikechukwu and Ernest did not make it out alive. I was the only one that came out alive without any bullet wound. This was so because I used a local protection charm. If not, I should have died because they shot at me severally.”
The third survivor, Ayotunde Adekunle, collaborating their statement, said the vandals opened fire at them and he jumped into the water. “I thank God that I survived it. It was more like a war film.” They had an argument with Taye the local security man before they opened fire on us.” Meanwhile, the operatives of the Inspector-General of Police (IG) Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit have arrested yet another suspected vandal known as Jigo Jiperede, aka Tokiwe who was actively involved in the killing of the NNPC staff.