Ogun - The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) has alleged that the suspected vandals that destroyed NNPC pipelines at Arepo village, Ogun, were recruited from Ondo State riverine areas.
Mr Friday Ibadin, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of the Inspector-General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.
Ibadin said that the Arepo vandals went to Ondo State for the recruitment, after losing 30 of their members to a pipeline explosion recently in Ogun.
He said that preliminary investigations into the last pipeline explosion revealed that some young men were brought to Lagos from riverine areas of Ondo State, to replace the dead members of the group.
The preference for riverine dwellers, NAN learnt, is because of their being able to swim as most of the pipelines being vandalised are in the creeks.
``One of the suspects arrested after the last explosion in Arepo, who identified himself as Computer, claimed that himself and two others were invited to Lagos on Jan.10, to work,by one Igbekorowa, (suspected ring leader of pipeline vandals).
``According to the suspect, the person that invited them did not state the nature of the job waiting for them, because they believe he is a big man, and can assist them with good jobs".
Ibadin said that the suspect claimed that the first place their leader took them to was the creeks in Ikorodu area, where he (leader) requested them to stay on the road.
``According to him, one other ring leader, identified as Wale came to the scene, while they were waiting, and a fight broke out between Wale and their leader.
"This is because Wale sent his boys to scoop fuel from the burst pipe, despite the two leaders agreement to suspend operation and deceive the police.
``He claimed it was some minutes into the fight that the police arrested them, including Wale, while Igbokorowa escaped,'` Ibadin said.
In a related development, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Command, said it had recovered 290 Jerrycans filled with petroleum products, stolen by suspected pipeline vandals.
The command’s spokesperson, Ms. Mary Bada told NAN that the jerrycans were recovered at Ijeododo area, near Festac Town, adding that the vandals escaped arrest.
According to her, the products were in 160 containers of 50 litres each, and 130 other jerrycans of 25 litres each.