Pipeline Vandals Arrested


Operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalisation Unit, Force Headquarters Annex, Lagos, southwest Nigeria, have arrested three suspected pipeline vandals, Ganiu Babatunde, Laide Azeez and Wisdom Ejiro at Konu area of Ikorodu with 102, 50 litres of jerry can filled with petrol.

Also recovered from them was their two operational trucks.

They were charged before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos on a two-count charge of felony, to wit, tampering with petroleum pipeline, property of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

The prosecution alleged in charge No. J/8/2012 that the accused were arrested by a patrol team led by Inspector Soledayo Olaide with two trucks loaded with jerry cans filled with petrol on 2 February, 2012.

When they were questioned on how they came about the petroleum products, they allegedly confessed that they vandalized a petroleum pipeline and stole the product.

They led the police to the spot they vandalized and the NNPC was notified.

In his confessional statement to the police, the ring leader of the gang, Babatunde promised to assist the police in their investigation.

“We have been vandalising petroleum pipeline in Komu village, Ikorodu to siphon fuel for long. We sell a 50-litre jerry can filled with petrol for N3,000 to motorists and some filling stations along Ijebu Ode- Shagamu road in Ogun State.

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“I promise that if we are set free in this case, we will never tamper with pipeline again.

The offences, according to the prosecutor, DSP Odion Akhaine, contravened sections 3 (6) and 7 (a ) of the Miscellaneous Offences Cap. M 17, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

Count two of the charge reads: ”That you, Ganiu Babatunde, Laide Afeez and Wilson Ejiro and others still at large on 2 February, 2012 at Komu in Ikorodu, along NNPC right of way in the Lagos magisterial district did tamper with petroleum pipeline, property of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.”

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the prosecutor objected to their bail on grounds of lack of jurisdiction to hear the matter by the court.

DSP Odion Akhaine prayed the court to remand the accused in prison to enable the Federal Director of Public Prosecution, FDPP, provide legal advice for the prosecution of the matter at the high court.

After listening to the prosecutor, the presiding magistrate, Mr. B.A. Sonuga ordered that the accused be remanded in prison, pending advice from the FDPP.

He adjourned the matter to 29 March, 2012 for mention.

—Paul Iyoghojie

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