The Lagos State Police Command have arrested the prime suspect in the vandalism of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s pipeline, which had earlier caused an explosion that destroyed properties worth several millions of naira in the Abule-Egba area of the state on December 19, 2018.
A statement by CSP Chike Otti, the state Police Public Relation Officer, had declared wanted one Adedipe Ewenla, as four of the arrested suspects had narrated to the Police how the fire incident started, which burnt more than 70 vehicles, a number of shops and more than 90 houses in Abule-Egba area.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Edgal Imohimi, the state Commissioner of Police, said operatives of the State Anti-Robbery Squad, who were mobilised to investigate the incident, arrested Ewenla and his accomplices, Abdulazeez Agbola (aged 29), Akin Ayansola (aged 44), one Kazeem (aged 50) and Saheed Isiola (aged 36).
One Rasak Oyakunle was arrested and during interrogation, he confessed that his workshop is located at the petroleum pipeline "to enable them siphon fuel undetected".
Imohimi continued: “On Thursday, December 19, 2018, around 2am, there was a fire outbreak at Isopako Awori, Abule-Egba area of Lagos State. The fire emanated from the NNPC pipeline that was deliberately ruptured by vandals in their bid to siphon Premium Motor Spirit from the broken pipeline. The consequence was a huge ball of fire that consumed about 100 houses and 77 vehicles worth several millions of Naira.
“Based on the development, operatives of the State Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, were detailed to investigate the incident and ensure the arrest of those behind the crime. The operatives mobilised to the scene and picked up some pieces of evidence for analysis, which led to the arrest of one Rasak Oyakunle, aka Akeregun.
“During interrogation, he confessed to committing the crime. He further revealed that he owned a generator repair workshop situated right on the spot where the pipeline was ruptured. He said that the location of the workshop on the petroleum pipeline was to enable them siphon fuel undetected. His partners in the illegal business currently in our custody are Abdulazeez Agbola, 29; Akin Ayansola, 44; one Kazeem, 50; and Saheed Isiola, 36.
“Also arrested is one Adedipe Ewenla, 40, who was on the police wanted list as a result of the stealing of petroleum products for many years until he met his waterloo on December 19, 2018.”