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Tackling pipeline vandalism: Nigerian Navy bust syndicate in Lagos



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AS pipeline vandalism and crude theft seems to be increasing, relevant security agencies saddled with the responsibilities to check such malfeasance have also stepped up strategies to subjugate the criminals. A recent raid of hideouts in the creeks in Lagos area by a combine team of Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) points to the fact that the days of vandals are numbered. Setting out
It was exactly 1437hrs when about three boats belonging to the Nigerian Navy cast off from the NNS Beecroft jetty in Apapa with officers, ratings, NSCDC personnel and journalists from six media organisations. They embarked on an operation to raid endemic vandals’ enclaves that have become notorious in recent time for siphoning petroleum products with devastating economic implication on the nation.

As the boats sailed, there were intermittent stops on the high sea either dishing out instructions or waiting for one. However, we sailed through the Atlas cove, Ogorogo village down Ilado-odo to Akaraba. Although, the exact place to be raided was not immediately disclosed to the inquisitive journalists on board; based on experience, we had the conversion that hoarding such information was for security reasons. Having anchored at sea for more than 15 minutes, we were later joined by another boat from the Atlas cove and the voyage began.

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Encounter with vandals: Police connection
About 1540 hours, somewhere along the creek, we sited a police post at Ilado village. Just as the naval boats slowed down and diverted towards the station, a blue boat, later identified to be vandals with about six people on board sped off in front of the police station. Not knowing that they were vandals, one of the policemen in mufti hinted that they were actually vandals. Immediately, a naval boat gave them a chase, unfortunately, the criminals abandoned their boat with the content and ran into the bush. It was discovered that about 27 jerry cans of 25 litres were filled with PMS. One amazing thing, which has left more questions than answer was: Why were the vandals in front of the police station with such content and were not arrested? Could it be they were there to deliver the content to the police as gratification? Why did the police not inform the naval personnel on time, which could have led to their arrest for questioning? When has it become a routine for vandals to boldly anchor in front of police station without confrontation if not that they are known to them? From the standpoint of simple algebra, it would be fair to say that the police might have been having positive romance with the vandal in the creeks hence they were spotted in front of their station unchallenged?

Anchored on the bank of the sea
After patrolling the area for over an hour, going through dangerous pathways laced with jerry cans with some carefully hidden in adjoining bushes, some members of Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) spotting reflective jackets with the inscription: “Surveillance Patrol” came with cutlasses but later identified themselves as staff of Kings Lion Boys, a security group entrusted with the responsibility of securing the pipeline from the activities of vandals.

Journey with OPC
The NNS Beecroft Commanding Officer, Commodore Abraham Adaji explained the need to embark on a land trip with a truck provided by the OPC to enable them destroy some seized jerry cans. About 20 people sandwiched in the small truck including Commodore Adaji took off on a sandy road along the pipeline way. From Akaraba creeks to Roberts down to Faji area to Unagbe resort and eventually terminating at Okun-Karmaru at Agula village, Ilashe bounded on the south by Supkor village. At a point, one of the tyres of the truck flattened. Caught in the midst of confusion especially as the truck had not spare tyre after about 10 kilometres, we trekked over another six kilometres to a point where over I, 500 of 20 litres jerry cans were destroyed.

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An indigene of the village, Grace Edward, who spoke to National Daily denied having knowledge of the activities of bunkers at Okun-Karmru village, Ilashe under the Oriade LCDA. “Since I was born in this village, I have never been involved in any dubious act.

Anytime, we are going to the church in the morning, we do see jerry cans littered everywhere. I don’t know what they use it for.

“I sell puff-puff while my husband is a security man. She solicited for government assistance in the provision of infrastructural facilities like schools, hospitals and jetty in the area. King Lion Boys Commandant General speaks

National Daily learnt that they have arrested not fewer than 29 vandals within the creeks. Aminu Amusa, Commandant General, Kings Lion Boys, said that since they started surveillance operation, they have confiscated thousands of jerry cans and beaten a lot of vandals.


He said, “We have seized so many Jerry Cans and arrested about eight people who were taken to Abuja. We recently arrested another 21 people including a woman. Some of those arrested were handed over to the Nigerian Navy.

However, “Our major challenge, Amusa explained is frequent attacks from some notorious boys from Takwa Bay called “Monkey Monkey.” They usually come at night to attack us while they rub their bodies with black oil so that it would be difficult to hold them during arrest. Often times, during such attacks, we have sustained injuries.

Back to NNS Beecroft
After a growling rickety journey with the truck that had a punctured tyre coupled with rigorous trek, we got back to NNS Beecroft at exactly 2022hours with a success story that the Nigerian Navy in its drive to obliterate pipeline vandals in conjunction with Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) confiscated a speed boat used by vandals and 27 jerry cans filled with PMS as well as sending a signal to the vandals that the days they hijacked the creeks and scooped petroleum products unhindered will no longer be done with ferocious attacks from the security agencies.

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Navy and NSCDC react
The Commanding Officer, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Abraham Adaji said the force is committed more than ever before to eliminate pipeline vandalism that has been a clog in the wheel of the economy progress of the country.

Speaking to some media organisation that were part of the raid, explained that “the nation has a lot of problems with the issue of vandalism and crude oil theft and government is not living anything to chance as all avenue are been exploited to ensure the problem is brought to an end. Showing some seized jerry cans to the journalists added that “We arrested seized these jerry cans about 2am in the early hours of Wednesday, 13 April, 2013 while on routine patrol on the Lagos anchorage. We observed that there was a pipe that was connected to the hose receiving the import products supplied to the Atlas cove. As we tried to investigate, a small speed boat sped off from the location and saw a pipe dropped. We took it and followed the line and discovered that a wooden boat was anchored about 120 metres away from the point. The boat was connected to the supply and they had a hose attached to it. The hose, the wooden boat with 245 drums of 250 litres each and the 32 of the cans already filled with PMS were recovered and tolled to the naval base.

In the seized boat from vandals last Thursday during the raid, “We recovered about 27 jerry cans of 50 litres each. They were filled from their point of vandalism but as you observed, we met them midstream. We couldn’t use arm because of the products they had and we wouldn’t have been able to determine what was really involved. We now know that they were carrying PMS.

On his part, the Head, Anti-vandal, NSCDC, Assistant Commandant, Adeboye Adeyinka said “It was expected of us as an agency saddled with the responsibility of protecting critical government infrastructures to check the activities of vandals. What we saw was an eye opener especially as the war against vandals is taking a new dimension. This operation would be a continuous one to deter the activities of vandals”