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Army arrests 17 suspected vandals

Recovers 33 vehicles loaded with siphoned product

By Evelyn Usman

Two women were among 17 suspected vandals arrested  by personnel of 81 Division of Nigerian Army  while attempting to transport siphoned petroleum product from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ,NNPC,  pipelines  in Ikorodu.

Activities of vandals, which seemed to have abated  after they were smoked out from the Arepo and Ikorodu creeks, have resumed by new groups .

The suspects as gathered, came out of the creeks Wednesday night with the siphoned products, which were being loaded into tankers and drums for onward sale within and outside the country, when the Army personnel swooped on them.

Recovered from the suspects were five 33,000 litres trucks loaded with the siphoned products and 28 other vehicles loaded with drums filled with petroleum products. Also recovered were 166 (50 litres) jerricans filled with refined petroleum product and 130 empty ones.

Parading the suspects before newsmen, yesterday, at the 174 Battalion, Odogunyan Barracks, Ikorodu, the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 81 Division, Major General Enobong Udoh, explained that 12 of the suspects were arrested in Magboro, Ogun State, along the Lagos/ Ibadan expressway in conjunction with men of  sister security agencies. Others, according to him, were arrested during a raid by troops of the division  in Akute area.

According to him, “on sighting the troops approaching Magboro, the armed vandals fired sporadically before abandoning their vehicles loaded with the refined Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, and some empty jerry cans and fled to avoid being arrested. Notwithstanding, the troops arrested 12 of them during a cordon and search operation conducted around the vicinity.

“A total of 24 vehicles, comprising three trucks, nine buses, eight Space Wagons, one Hilux van, three Salon cars and four motorcycles abandoned by the vandals were recovered.  However, while recovering them, one of the vehicles caught fire and was razed.

“In another anti-illegal bunkering operation, troops of 81 Division raided another location where suspected vandals were carrying out their sabotage activities along NNPC pipeline at Akute. The vandals concealed their vehicles with refined oil products and fled on arrival of the troops.

“Five suspected vandals were arrested at the scene and items recovered include nine vehicles comprising six buses, two heavy-storage trucks and one Sports Utility Vehicle, SUV.

“Other items recovered include one motorcycle, seven mobile phones, 371 (50-litre) and 42 (25 litres) jerry cans loaded with refined Premium Motor Spirit, 106 empty 50-jerry cans, a hose of about 500 metres in length used for siphoning products with approximately 19,600 litres of stolen PMS being recovered.

However, when the suspects were interrogated, they denied being vandals, adding that they had no business to do with the recovered items.


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