BY DAUD OLATUNJI
ABEOKUTA — Some Policemen attached to the Inspector-General of Police Special Anti‑Vandalism team are still being held hostage by vandals, 72 hours after the gun battle between them and the vandals at Arepo pipeline, Ogun State.
A security source, who spoke with Vanguard on condition of anonymity, said no fewer than nine policemen had been kidnapped by the pipeline vandals.
Two members of the Police team were reportedly shot dead while two were said to have been kidnapped by the vandals.
But, Vanguard was told by the security source that Police authorities did not want to disclose the actual number of missing Policemen so as not to discourage their colleagues and aggravate the security situation in the country.
He, however, said that though four were said to be missing, the situation has shown that no fewer than nine Policemen were missing.
Contacted on the figure of the missing Policemen, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Muyiwa Adejobi, said he was not aware of the actual figure.
He said: “A lot of our men have been trapped in the incident, but I cannot confirm the figure to you. I am not the one that led the team. So, I cannot tell you if they are nine or not.”
Meanwhile, officials of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and security operatives, yesterday, disagreed over situation report in the area.
NEMA, NSCDC disagree
The Information Officer of NEMA in the South-West, Ibrahim Farinloye told newsmen on phone that the fire had been put out.
But the Public Relations Officer of National Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Ogun State Command, Kareem Olanrewaju, disagreed sharply with the NEMA official, saying the fire was still on as at 4.30 pm, yesterday.
“I can tell you authoritatively that the fire is still on but burning at a very low level and nobody has been able to access the scene because the situation is still very tense and dangerous,” he said.
While giving the situation report, Olanrewaju confirmed that a security meeting presided over by the Ogun State Commandant of the corps, Aboluwoye Akinwande, was held at the scene with other security operatives including Police and DSS officers in attendance.
The state Assistant Commissioner of Police identified simply as AC Oyekan was said to have co‑ordinated the report of the meeting.
The PPRO, however, declined to give the details of the meeting, citing security reasons.
But according to a source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the purpose of the meeting was to find a lasting solution to the problem in Arepo which has been recurring and becoming deadly since 2010.
The source said: “We observed that the incident has been recurring and had become more deadly from 2010 till date. It was also observed that the terrain is too dangerous for effective policing due to uneasy accessibility.
“We also agreed that the erection of the pipeline on the surface of the water makes it more attractive to the vandals. It also has a valve around the place, they will just make an opening and have their way.”