BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI & ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH
LAGOS — Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Tuesday gave a marching order to the Office of the Public Defender, OPD, to take legal action against the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC, for allegedly arresting eight residents of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area LCDA, whose wells were found to have been polluted by oil spill from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC pipeline in the area.
It would be recalled that NSCDC officials, last week, allegedly invaded the buildings at No.17 and 30 Aminatu Ilo Street, in Ejigbo LCDA, and arrested eight persons, including a landlord and his wife, a pregnant woman on the suspicion that they dug their well to the level of oil pipeline which runs through the area.
The governor through the Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello, had, weekend, condemned the alleged unwarranted arrest and urged the victims to institute legal action against NSCDC.
He noted that the “illegal arrest” was carried out without proper investigation.
However, Fashola, who frowned seriously at what he termed “indiscriminate arrest of innocent citizens.”
A team of the OPD, led by its Director, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, visited the affected area on Monday to interact with the people arrested by NSCDC.
She also faulted the arrest, disclosing that the governor had directed OPD to take up legal action against the NSCDC, explaining that OPD had since secured the release of the arrested persons, but would be suing for damages.
The OPD director spoke with the owners of the two houses who claimed that they informed Ejigbo Police Station when they first noticed that substance suspected to be fuel was coming out of their wells instead of water.
They claimed the Police took them to NNPC office to make an official report, stressing that NNPC officials came to take samples from the well and sealed it off with the promise that they would return on Monday, August 26, 2013.
But on Saturday, August 24,according to them,NSCDC came to arrest them and all pleas to them that the matter had been officially reported to the appropriate quarters fell on deaf ears.