The 174 battalion of the 81 Division of the Nigeran Army, Thursday arrested 19 suspected pipeline vandals, 12 impostors and 11 cultists in different raids across Lagos and Ogun States.
The vandals were arrested at Magboro in Ogun State along Lagos/Ibadan Express in the process of transporting the siphoned petroleum products from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC ) pipelines in Ikorodu.
The raid was coordinated by the Anti-Illegal Bunkering and Anti-Pipeline Vandalism patrol, troops of 81 Division Nigerian Army, in conjunction with 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.
A total of 24 vehicles comprising three long-trailer trucks, nine buses, eight Space Wagons, one Hilux van, three Salon cars and four 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.
Also recovered were 33,000 litres trucks loaded with the siphoned products and 28 other vehicles loaded with drums filled with petroleum products.
Parading the suspects thursday, at the 174 Battalion, Odogunyan Barracks , Ikorodu , the General Officer Commanding , GOC 81 Division, Major General Enobong Udoh, said 12 of the suspects were arrested in Magboro, Ogun state.
He said : “ On sighting the troops approaching Magboro, 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 of them during a Cordon and Search Operation conducted around the vicinity.
“A total of 24 vehicles comprising three trucks, nine buses, eight Space Wagons, one Hilux van, three Salon cars and four motorcycles abandoned by the vandals, were recovered. However, while recovering them, one of the vehicles caught fire and was completely razed.
“ In another Anti-Illegal bunkering, 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 and items recovered include: nine vehicles comprising six buses, two heavy-storage trucks and one Sports Utility Vehicle.
“ Other items recovered include one motorcycle, seven mobile phones, 371 (50-litre) and 42 (25 litres) jerry cans loaded with refined Premium Motor Spirit, 106 empty 50-jerry cans, a hose of about 500 metres in length used for siphoning products with approximately 19,600 litres of stolen PMS being recovered.
However, when the suspected were interrogated , they denied being vandals, adding that they had no business to do with the recovered items.
For the 13 impostors, including a woman, they
had been masquerading as military personnel within Lagos and Ogun states.
Some of them were discovered to have been dismissed soldiers who claimed to be wearing the uniforms to avoid paying transport fare.
Others who never had anything to do with the military , said they used the uniforms to escort fairly used cars, for a toke of N5000.
The impersonators according to the GOC would be handed over to the DSS while the suspected vandals would be handed over to the DSS or the NSCDC for prosecution.
He reiterated the division’s resolve to flush the likes of the suspects whom he said were those fomenting trouble outside,, adding that modalities had been put in place to checkmate movement of soldiers under 81 Division .