BY EVELYN USMAN
LAGOS—The Inspector-General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline vandalism has recovered the bodies of three staff of Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, who were killed by pipeline vandals at Arepo, Ogun State, last month.
One of the bodies which were in their decomposing states was identified as that of the Deputy Manager in-charge of Pipelines Right of Way, PROW. They were recovered in two shallow graves around the creeks where the vandals buried them.
The slain staff comprising engineers and technicians , met their unprepared end on September 8, 2012, after they had gone to put out the raging fire from a burst NNPC pipeline. They reportedly succeeded in putting out the fire which raged for three days and were about effecting repairs on the damaged part when the vandals stormed the scene.
The vandals as gathered, opened fire on them, killing three of them at the spot while others managed to escape with bullet wounds. Not yet done, the vandals thereafter, absconded with the copses of their victims.
Six suspects as gathered, were arrested during investigation by the Task Force, where one of the suspects identified as Imerepamu Joel told the operatives that he knew where bodies of the dead staff were buried.
Head of the Task Force, Mr Friday Ibadin, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, disclosed that it took the policemen six hours to sail to the spot.
Forty heavily armed policemen on speed boats and a patrol helicopter according to him were involved in the search.
Ibadin who spoke in Lagos at the weekend, said: “We found in a decomposing state, bullet-ridden bodies of the three victims. We learnt that the body of the local security guard employed by NNPC, Taye aka Dead Man, was cut into pieces and disposed off.
“Shortly after the incident, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, reconstituted the dissolved Anti vandal team. It became important to get to the root of the incident that led to the death of these officials. And in the cause of investigation, about six suspects were arrested. We gathered from the confession of one of the suspects, Imerepamu Ijebu Joel, that he knew where the NNPC staffers were buried.
“Initially, he took our team to a spot and after several hours, the bodies were not found. At night, the Ijaw boys attempted to dig one spot but were stopped by the police who were on guard. And two days later he opened up and agreed to take us to the real spot.
“It took six hours of sailing to get to the spot. We had 40 heavily armed men, and we took along a pathologist, a coroner, and the medical team from NNPC that eventually identified the bodies. They took us to a place where they claimed they bury non natives. With the assistance of one John Bosco, Peter Opidi, and the suspect, Imerepamu Ijebu Joel, we were shown two shallow graves. It was there that we discovered the bodies and they have been deposited at a mortuary.”