The Lagos State Police Command, on Friday smashed a pipeline vandalism syndicate at Ilasa, a surburb in the state, and arrested five persons in connection with the crime.
The syndicate, who are residents of the densely populated locality, were exposed by the eagle eye of the Divisional Police Officer of Ilasa, Oriyomi Oluwasanni, a Superintendent of Police, who, acting on intelligence, swooped on them.
THISDAY gathered that the DPO had gone undercover, pretending to be a buyer of the ill-gotten petroleum products, had lured them out before she and her men arrested them.
A visit to Abeokuta Close, off Ibadan Street, Ilasa, revealed that virtually all houses in the area have water-wells turned into oil wells, from which they ran a well-oiled operation.
THISDAY checks also revealed that the suspects had connected water pumps into the wells, from which they pump the products, suspected to be diesel, into an overhead tank.
From the overhead tanks, the suspects then run it into jerrycans and then sell them off to the buyers under the cover of darkness.
One of the landladies, who was arrested by the police, one Mrs. Moji Adeshina, of no 10 Abeokuta Street, was said to had even given quit notice to her tenants to afford her the privacy to run her business.
The Lagos State Commissioner Police, Fatai Owoseni, who was at the scene said the residents have been advised to relocate because of the danger the oil wells portend for their safety.
Owoseni went for an on-the-spot assessment of the area in the company of Oluwasanni; Area D Commander, ACP Gyadiayadi Salisu; Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Commander, ACP Olatunji Disu; the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Michael Akindele.
In an interview with journalists afterwards he said, “The Ilasa DPO had gathered intelligence that some houses had diesel where the Landlord’s and landladies do illegal oil business.
“The landlady of one of the houses on Abeokuta Street was also selling the vandlaised products. She pursued all her tenants out and have been doing the business illegally.
“They are all aware and she is one of the landladies that lives there and connected pipes to the wells with a pumping machine.
“Some of the tenants have denied culpability. How can they live here in the midst of oil and keep quiet. This is a disaster. If this catches fire, it will be disastrous because the area is densely populated.
“After now, the Lagos State Government will make an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to decide what to do with the diesel found in these wells.
“Already, the personnel of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are at the wells to collect sample and test the quality of the diesel.
“As investigation progresses, we will track the buyers of the products and also arrest them. Already, we are ferreting information from the suspects arrested.”
More Details Later