By Evelyn Usman
The Nigerian Navy has foiled attempt by pipeline vandals to break pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which pumps petroleum products from Atlas Cove, Lagos to Mosimi depot, Ogun State recovering 972 drums and 595 jerricans, including four boats.
Vanguard gathered that the vandals were sighted in some boats on anchorage in Jegeme community along Badary/Benin Republic route, by a team of naval personnel from the Forward Operating Base , Badagry, at about 5pm, Monday.
The personnel said to be on surveillance, called for assistance from the Nigerian Navy Ship , NNS Beecroft , Apapa, consequent upon which patrol boats were deplored to the scene but on sighting the personnel, the vandals, escaped , abandoning four boats .
When checked, 972 empty drums according to the Commander, NNS Beecroft , Commodore Eno Maurice , were recovered in the boats including 595 jerricans . In addition, he said three pumping machines, three coils of rubber hoses and 14 outboard engines were also recovered in the boats.
The seeming return of pipeline vandals to the axis is connected to the repairs of the damaged pipelines and subsequent pumping of petroleum products from Atlas Cove to Mosimi depot.
Handing the recovered items to the Nigerian Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, yesterday, Commodore Maurice reiterated Navy’s commitment to checkmate activities of vandals and other criminality within the nation’s water under its jurisdiction.
Recalling that a similar arrest was made around the axis last month, Maurice said: “We have cogent intelligence that there are other collaborators that indulge in pipeline vandalism and oil theft around there.”
The Navy then warned pipeline vandals and other criminal elements particularly in the maritime environment to turn a new leaf and pursue legal means of livelihood, otherwise the law will catch up with them.
He therefore, called on members of the public, particularly those living within riverine areas to give useful information on all forms of criminality going on within their vicinities.
Receiving the boats, the Commandant, NSCDC, Tajudeen Balogun, said the Corps would begin its investigation from where the Navy stopped. He warned oil thieves to desist from illegality and find legitimate business to engage in.