The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday in Lagos said it impounded over 2,000 gallons of petroleum products from some suspected vandals’ hideout at Majidun in Ikorodu, Lagos State.
The products, which were concealed in 50 litres jerry cans were lifted from the hideout by the Navy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that men of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies assisted the Navy in the operation.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Ilesanmi Alade, told newsmen that the operation, which took his men sleepless nights, was carried out following a tip-off from the public.
He said: “as you may be aware the Federal Government has been confronted with the challenges of combating illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism.
“These illegal activities have not only led to significant loss in revenue accruable to the Federal Government, but also cause damage to strategic installations which require colossal amount of money to repair.
“Pipeline vandalism has also led to pollution of the maritime environment and in some cases, fire disasters resulting in loss of lives and property.
“Communities like Majidun, Arepo, Ogolonto and Makoko in Ikorodu Local Government area of Lagos State are renowned for illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism.
“The perpetrators use self-propelled barges and wooden boats to ferry the stolen products to their destinations.
“They are also usually armed to confront anyone that attempts to stop their operation.’’
Alade said the operation, code-named “AWATSE’’, which literally means SCATTER, was aimed at dislodging the perpetrators of the illegal act.
“The operation was initiated by the Nigerian Navy and supported by the Nigerian Army and it is still ongoing.
“The operation has yielded success and so far; persons arrested after interrogation and confirmed as culprits, would be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency.
“The products will be handed over to the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) for storage, pending termination of the operation,’’ he said.
The Naval chief said that on completion of the operation, the Navy would consider establishing a base in the area.
He appealed to residents of Majidun to be patient and assured them that the operation would soon be over.
“Whatever we are doing here is also in the interest of the residents of Majidun and the economic survival of the nation,’’ he said.
Alade also appealed to the public to provide the Navy with useful information to assist it in apprehending the perpetrators.
He said that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Usman Jibrin, had zero tolerance for maritime crimes in the country.
A resident of the area, Mrs Kafaya told newsmen that she was aware oil bunkering was taken place in the area but did not know it was illegal.
Another resident, Mr Kazeem Ariyo, commended the Navy saying its men had done `a good job.’