Why we kill NNPC officials

THE NATION Newspaper

Two suspected vandals yesterday confessed to the killing of three Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) officials in Arepo, Ogun State in September last year.

The NNPC engineers, the suspects said, were “victims of misadventure.”

They spoke when they were paraded by the Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit, headed by Friday Ibadin, an Assistant Commissioner (ACP).

Timi Koro and Wusaina Etipiwey were arrested in Abule-Oba, near Ikorodu, Lagos, with 50 jerry cans of 50 litres, each with stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and a pump action gun while alighting from a boat, which ferried them to the creeks where they had allegedly gone to vandalise NNPC pipelines.

Koro, 29, who claimed that the gun found on him was given to him for safe keeping, said: “I joined them two years ago when my timber business was dwindling. In Abule-Oba and Konu axis of Ikorodu area, pipeline vandalism is the main source of making money. They have a strong union in that area and I am yet to be included because of the amount involved.”

He added: “The NNPC officials were unfortunate. The main target was a local security man popularly known as ‘Dead Man’. For some time, Dead Man stopped co-operating to allow us tap fuel from any of the ruptured pipelines. Our suspicion heightened when security officers started arresting our people in their numbers. We believed that he was the one giving them information about our operations in Abule-Oba. We agreed at the meeting to kill ‘Dead Man’. Unfortunately, on that day, NNPC officials were there and we were left with no choice but to kill and bury them. No matter how mean we may be, we don’t kill innocent people. Our only enemies are security officers who dare to stop us. Most of them that cooperate are our friends.

“We work (vandalise pipelines) at least four times a week, depending on the demands of the market. We already have different spots that were ruptured and sealed off at the end of each day’s work. With the aid of a long pipe and our own pumping machine, the products would be transferred to the gallons inside the water. I am not a major player but whenever they were going, Igbekorowa, who used to be my friend before he betrayed me, would allow me to join them.

“At the end of the day, he would pay me commission depending on the number of gallons that I could safely transport to land. Assuming I was able to deliver 300 littres, he would pay me N50, 000 because I am not a member of the union. They own different types of cars, built houses within Ikorodu and most of their buyers are owners of petrol stations.”

He said Tokyo and Igbekorowa, who live in Ikorodu are the major players in vandalism business in that area, adding “If security men can arrest Igbekorowa and Tokyo, then the business will stop. If I have an idea of where they are, I will personally hand them over to the police. They betrayed some of us because we have a strong intelligence group whose duty is to monitor all the security officers that were assigned to hunt us down. We also have our patrol team that moves with us during every operation. The team which comprises nine able-bodied men, move with all kinds of guns including grenades. Tokyo was involved in the last explosion and is currently in Ondo where he is receiving treatment. We are just the boys; the main vandals are out there.”

Etipiwey said hunger drove him into vandalism. “I was lucky to have survived the blast that happened last year. I had sworn to myself that I will not join them again, but when there was no other source of livelihood, I had no choice but to call Tokyo, who allowed me to join them.”

Ibadin said detectives were still on the trail of the remaining suspects involved in the killing of the NNPC officials, adding: “We are gradually closing in on the notorious Igbekorowa and Tokyo who led the suspected vandals that murdered the NNPC officials last year. It was in the course of our investigation that we got a tip-off that these boys were on their way back from the creeks.

“Policemen led by Sector Commander, Lagos, Deputy Superintendent Onaghise Osayande (DSP), laid ambush and arrested the duo but the rest fled. The task force will richly reward anyone with useful information the whereabouts of Igbekorowa and Tokyo.”


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