Over 100 pipeline vandals feared dead in Arepo fire
The vandals who were busy scooping fuel in the early hours of today ignited the fire, which was still raging as at 2.30pmwhen The Guardian visited the scene.
The area which was hitherto guarded by members of Odua People’s Congress (OPC) was said to have been left unguarded following the withdrawal of its members by OPC leadership over none payment of their contract fee by the Federal government.
When The Guardian visited the scene, some vandals who survived the fire outbreak were seen battling to quench the raging fire while the others moved the dead bodies of their partners-in-crime into canoes.
NNPC management to salvage the situation contacted policemen attached to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism.
One of the mobile policemen who spoke with The Guardian said that they are making plans to create an access to the area, which is, has been overgrown with weeds and water Hyacinth.
Policemen who arrived the scene could not get access to the swampy areas where the vandals were evacuating the dead bodies.
“You can see that there is no tent in this area. The one that was in existence was set ablaze by vandals who attacked members of OPC. We were however invited by NNPC to come and secure the area while repairs will be done on the security post.
“More than 100 vandals were roasted in that inferno. As you can see, we do not have a tenth, no pathway to the scene of the incident. The best option is for helicopters to be used to access the area or better still create an accessible road to the site.,” the mobile policeman who prefers to remain anonymous said.
Confirming the incident, the newly posted officer in charge of the task force, Valentine Olumese, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) who was also at the scene said that the police has completed plans to take over the protection of the area.
“The tenth that was destroyed will be repaired and access to the scene will be created. Our men will maintain presence.”
He also assured that pipeline vandalism would be reduced to the barest minimum if police presence returns to the area.
Ogun State Police spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi who was contacted on telephone however declined to speak on the issue.