Nigerian Army declared Thursday that it arrested 40 suspected vandals, cultists and impersonators and recovered over 400 jerry cans filled with petroleum products.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Major General Enobong Udoh, said in a statement that the suspects were arrested at different places between Lagos and Ogun states.
According to the GOC, the arrests were made following reliable information received from well-meaning Nigerians during anti-illegal bunkering and anti-pipeline vandalism patrol.
“This arrest was made in conjunction with Department of State Security, Inspector General of Police Task Force Team, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corp and Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps.
“We swooped on suspected pipeline vandals at Magboro in Ogun State along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway on May 16.
“On sighting the troops, the armed vandals fired sporadically before abandoning their vehicles loaded with the refined PMS and some empty jerry cans and fled to avoid being arrested.
“Notwithstanding, the troops arrested 12 suspected vandals during a Cordon and Search Operation conducted around the vicinity,” he said.
Udoh said 24 vehicles, comprising three trailer trucks, nine buses, eight space wagons, one Hilux van, three salon cars and four motorcycles abandoned by the vandals, were recovered.
“Other items recovered include 166 50-litre jerry cans loaded with refined petrol, 130 empty 50-litres jerry cans, approximately 8,300 litres of refined PMS.
“However, while recovering them, one of the vehicles caught fire and was completely razed,” he said.
The GOC said the troops also raided a 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.
“Other items recovered include one motorcycle, seven mobile phones, 371 of 50-litres and 42 of 25-litres jerry cans loaded with refined PMS, 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,” the statement stated
Udoh also added that 12 impostors were arrested by the Special Team of Operation Checkmate at various locations in Lagos and Ogun States while perpetrating various acts of illegality dressed in military uniforms.
“Troops also received reports of cult-related clashes at Reshe in Ikorodu Central Area.
“On arrival, troops met a chaotic scene where seven vehicles were vandalized, properties destroyed and some law-abiding citizens injured.
“On intervention by the troops, seven suspected cultists most of whom were of the EIYE Confraternity were arrested.
“Items recovered include: seven mobile phones, three ATM cards, one ID card, eight belts, one wallet, four rings, three wrist watches, black substance suspected to be charms and the sum of N13,080,” he said.
The GOC also said that four suspected cultists were arrested during another Cordon and Search operation conducted at Odokekere general area of Ikorodu.
“The suspected cultists were among those who escaped from the raid carried out on April 16 at Eginrin Depression area of Ikorodu during the initiation ceremony.
“Items recovered include 1 Itel Phone and a brown belt,” he said.
The GOC said all arrested suspected pipeline vandals, impostors and cultists were undergoing preliminary investigations after which they would be handed over to the appropriate security agency for further investigation and prosecution.
He enjoined the public to continue reaching out to security agencies and give useful information that would assist in ridding their areas of criminal elements.