Festac Town residents in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, have decried the activities of oil thieves who damage NNPC pipelines to siphon petroleum products.
Some of the residents who spoke with P.M.News yesterday, decried the incessant activities of the oil thieves operating in the 7th Avenue Area of Festac, adding that they have made several complaints to the Area ‘E’ Command of the Nigeria Police Force, to no avail.
Chukwuemeka Nwani, a resident, who lives very close to the area where oil thieves carry out their activities, alleged that despite several complaints to the Area ‘E’ Command, they are yet to curb the oil pilfering.
Nwani disclosed that policemen from the Area ‘E’ Command collude with oil thieves. He called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to look into the issue before it gets out of hand.
Another resident, Alhaja Nimota Bilikis said she always sees some policemen from the Area ‘E’ Command escorting the oil thieves, saying that something has to be done urgently to stop the ugly trend.
According to Bilikis, “we are tired of the activities of the oil thieves; they come here at midnight to scoop premium motor spirit, and on some occasions we see policemen from the Area ‘E’ Command with them. That is why whenever we inform the police they won’t act. We want the IGP to come to our aid.”
A security guard, who works with a church close to where the canoes of the oil thieves berth, said the church has also made several complaints to the Area ‘E’ Command but nothing has been done about it.
The guard, who craved anonymity said: “The police are causing all these problems. Weeks ago I was woken up by sporadic shootings. When I enquired, I discovered that it was a gun duel between policemen from the Area ‘E’ Command and Zone 2. The IG has to look into this issue.”
Corroborating what the guard said, an automobile mechanic who identified himself as Fatai Aromire, said if men from the Area ‘E’ Command put aside sentiment, they can stop the activities of the oil thieves.
He recalled how fire almost razed some parts of 7th Avenue as a result of the activities of the oil thieves.
“I could remember what happened some years ago, when fire erupted in parts of 7th Avenue. The police made some arrests but they were later released based on the cordial relationship that existed between both parties. Up till now the oil thieves still operate with reckless abandon and the police can’t stop them.”
An accomplice, Muhammed Haliru, who sells engine oil, said there is nothing the police can do to stop their activities because they bribe the police.
“We always ‘settle’ the police whenever we go on operation. The residents can only complain but they cannot stop us,” he boasted.
Telephone calls by P.M.NEWS to the Commander of Area ‘E’, Donald Okoro, were not picked as at the time of filing this report.