The Inspector-General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline vandalism has uncovered nine jetties in Ikorodu area of Lagos, used by pipeline vandals to transport siphoned petroleum products from Arepo in Ogun State.
After an eight-hour shoot-out with the vandals, four suspected members of the gang was arrested, and 2000 liters of petroleum products stored in forty 50 liters jerrycans were recovered. Also recovered were over 5000 corks of jerrycans stocked in six bags.
One of the suspects who are all residents of Kadoko Konu area of Ikorodu, and were discovered to have built their houses very close to the creeks from where they created the jetties, was discovered to be an informant to the task force.
Each of the buildings, findings showed, had it’s own jetty which links Arepo. A total of seven canoes reportedly used to convey the products were berthed at the jetties.
There was also a shrine behind the building where the vandals reportedly performed some sacrifice before embarking on any mission. Charms, brooms, candles and different colours of threads were found at the shrine.
Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of the task Force, Friday Ibadin, who disclosed how the task force uncovered the jetties, said, “Three days ago (last Friday), we received information that vandals were about going to Elepete, popularly known as Arepo to open the valve.
“You know, that area had been clamped since the last incident there. In fact, we have blocked the entire area, making it impossible for them to penetrate. When they discovered it was blocked , they moved to Ijedodo but unfortunately for them, we were also able to tackle that.
“Then yesterday ( Sunday), we learnt that about 80 of them were firing at Kadoko Konu area of Ikorodu. We stormed there at midnight and exchanged fire with them. But considering government property and in order to prevent any fire outage, we stopped shooting at about 8am. But they continued firing until about 10am.
“When they did not hear any reply from us, I believe they started their unpleasant act. We allowed them do their work inside the creeks while we condoned off the entire exit points. Later, we picked up three of them and during interrogation, one of them mentioned the forth person whom he identified as D1. The suspects identities were given as Banjo Nofiu, 33, Ogunleti Okanlawon, 32, Ahmed Bashorun alias D1 and Nofiu Rasak.
“Initially, when we started the interrogation, they all insisted not to know anything about the jetties nor the recovered items. But after a while, one of them, Ogunleti Okanlawon disclosed that he was working for D1, the task force informant. It was gathered that the Oyo state-born panel beater used his bus to convey the products right from the jetty behind him, to a junction from where the products are sold. However, during one of the trips, his vehicles reportedly went up in flames.
Ogunleti in his confession said, “Yes. I use my bus to help them carry fuel. At the end of each trip, they pay me N5,000-N6,000 . At times I go once a week or twice. I take the products to Oke-Oko junction from where they will sell to buses. I am not involved in the sales, I only convey them to the junction. But, I stopped working since February. I used to work for D1. I was arrested Monday, after I came out to fix the headlight of one of my neighbours.”
Ahmed Bashorun, also known as D1, who was discovered to be an informant to the Task Force, described Okanlanwon’s claim as untrue. Rather, he said, “I normally help the IG monitoring to locate where vandals are. I am an informant. I choose to work for the police because I am close to them. But, I was surprised when they arrested these three guys this morning and was told they mentioned my name, that they were working for me.
“I have been receiving calls of threats on the phone from vandals that they will deal with me and my family for giving police information about their activities here. I even gave the police some of the telephone numbers through which I was threatened. Let the person that says he works for me say that to my face!,” stated the 40 year-old suspect.
Another suspect, Rasaq Nofiu also exonerated himself from the allegation.
According to him, he usually saw vandals bringing petroleum product from the jetty behind his building but could not challenge them for fear of being killed. “Those people are deadly. I cannot confront them because they are armed,” he said.
“They can kidnap and even kill one before help will come. I just packed into the building last November. The only thing is that each time they finished their business, they will give me 50 litres or 100 litres of fuel which I fill into my vehicle and power generating set. I can identify them if I see them,” he said.