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Army arrest 17 suspected vandals

….. Recovers over 500 pieces of 50 litres jerrycans with 27,900 PMS
Troops of the  81 Division,  Nigerian Army,  have arrested 17 suspected pipeline vandals operating in the Akute  and Magboro areas of  Lagos and Ogun State.

The vandals,  it was gathered were arrested with 537 pieces of 50 litre jerrycans and  42 pieces of 25 litre jerrycans all filled with a total of 27,900 litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from NNPC Petroleum pipelines.

According to the General Officer Commanding 81 Division,  Major-General Enobong Udoh,  who paraded the suspected vandals at 174 Battalion in Ikorodu,  the suspects also had 236 empty 50 litre jerrycans in their possession.

Udoh also revealed that 33 vehicles and four motorbikes used by the vandals in perpetrating the heinous crime were recovered by troops of the Division.

The GOC noted that the suspects were arrested during two separate operations  based on reliable information received from some well-meaning members of the public  during the Anti-illegal Bunkering and Anti-Pipeline Vandalism patrol of  troops  of the Division.

” The first operation was on May 16th, 2018. The Nigerian Army, in conjunction with the  Department of State  Security, Inspector General of Police Task Force  Team, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp, Federal Road Safety Corp and Lagos neighborhood Safety Corps  swooped on suspected pipeline vandals at Magboro in Ogun State along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway

”  It was gathered that, during the hours of darkness, these vandals break open petroleum pipelines to steal refined Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) fill up hundreds of jerrycans with the products and convey them to their marketing outlets in several, trucks, trailers, buses, cars and vans.

” On sighting the troops approaching the said location, the armed vandals fired sporadically before abandoning their vehicles loaded with the refined Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and some empty jerry cans and fled to avoid being arrested.

” Notwithstanding, the troops arrested 12 suspected vandals during a Cordon and Search Operation conducted around the vicinity. A total of 24 vehicles comprising of 3 long-trailer trucks, 9 buses, 8 Space Wagons, 1 Hilux van, 3 Salon cars and 4 motorcycles abandoned by the vandals were recovered.

” Other items recovered include 166 50-litre Jerry cans loaded with refined PMS,  130 empty 50-litres jerry cans, appropriately 8,300 litres of refined PMS. However, while recovering them, one of the vehicles caught fire and was completely razed.”

” In another Anti-illegal Bunkering operation, troops of 81 Division raided another location where suspected vandals were carrying out their sabotage activities along NNPC pipeline at Akute.

“The vandals concealed their vehicles with refined oil products and fled on arrival of the troops. 5 suspected vandals were arrested at the scene. Items recovered included 9 vehicles, comprising 6 buses, 2 heavy-storage trucks and one Sports Utility Vehicle.

” Other items recovered include 1 motorcycle, 7 mobile phones, 371 pieces of  50-litre jerrycans and 42 pieces of 25-five litre jerrycans loaded with refined Premium Motor Spirit, 106 empty 50-litre-jerrycans, a hose of about 500 metres in length used for siphoning products with approximately 19,600 litres of stolen PMS being recovered.”

Some of the suspects who spoke with our correspondent denied any involvement in the criminal act.

Monsuru Akani who is a 38 year old bus driver said he was only contacted to convey 50-litre jerrycans to Magboro.  ” I am a bus driver,  it was someone who called me from Mowe bustop  to help him carry empty Jerrycans to the area.

He gave me the number of a man I am to deliver the jerrycans to and paid me N2,000 for the service. I never knew they were vandals and that was my first time of carrying such.

” surprisingly,  when I got there,  I was intercepted by the Army who accused me of been involved in pipeline  vandalism. I am a married man with a child and a pregnant wife,  I have never been involved in any criminal act.  All I ask is for the Army to investigate well because I am innocent.”

Another suspect,  Duduyemi Opregite claimed she had gone to Magboro to beg for alms when she heard sporadic shooting and was later arrested.

Abdulganiu Olawumi who is 23 years old said,  ” I had gone to see my brother who is a bus driver at Magboro when I was arrested.  When he sited the Army personnel he fled but because I felt I had done nothing wrong,  I stay but unfortunately I was also arrested.”

Udoh maintained that the arrested suspects will be handed over to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps for further investigations and prosecution.

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