By Evelyn Usman
The sleepy Abulewa community in Ikorodu area of Lagos was, yesterday, thrown into pandemonium, following sporadic gunshots from armed pipeline vandals, which left two policemen and a commercial motorcyclist dead.
At 5pm, the fate of two officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, could not be ascertained as unconfirmed report had it that they could have also been killed by the vandals and thrown into the creeks.
Eight others, who reportedly sustained bullet wounds during the shoot-out, were said to be undergoing treatment at an undisclosed hospital around the area.
Vanguard gathered that the vandals, numbering over 30, were returning from Abule Ishawo and Tappa creeks where they had gone to siphon petroleum products from Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, when they were accosted by a team of NSCDC on patrol around Okoko area.
However, other vandals who had positioned themselves to wade off intruders, reportedly opened fire on the NSCDC officials.
NSCDC calls for help
During the gun duel, report said the officials made a distress call to a joint Navy/Army patrol team around Abulewa area which came to their rescue.
The joint patrol team was said to have succeeded in rescuing eight NSCDC officials from the vandals.
It was learned that when it became apparent that the vandals were being over powered, they reportedly fled the scene.
Meanwhile, a team of policemen from Owutu Division, said to have been on the verge of moving to the scene on receiving the distress call, were attacked by the fleeing vandals.
Invade Police Station
The vandals, said to be in four buses and over 20 motorcycles, opened fire on reaching the station, taking the policemen unaware.
Two non-commissioned policemen were gunned down with their rifles taken away by the vandals as one of the patrol vehicles was reportedly set ablaze by the rampaging vandals.
A commercial motorcyclist, said to have been hit by a bullet from the vandals, died on the spot,while some of his colleagues sustained bullet wounds.
A reinforcement from the area ’H’ Ogudu Command, reportedly saved the day, as the vandals were said to have abandoned one of the buses and eight motorcycles loaded with some 50-litre jerry cans filled with the siphoned petroleum product.
Spokesman of Lagos State Police Command, Kenneth Nwosu, confirmed the death of two policemen, adding that investigation had begun to arrest the fleeing vandals.
On his part, the Western Naval Command Information Officer, Lieutenant Commander Abdusalam Sanni, said no casualty was recorded on the side of the Navy.
He said: “When the distress call was received, our men moved to the scene and succeeded in overpowering the vandals. Eight NSCDC men were rescued.”