The fire that destroyed over 150 million Naira property and put burden on shoulders of some business owners in Abule Egba area of Lagos State is still fresh. 

It was caused by people in the business of stealing petrol from pipelines that transport petrol to different parts of Nigeria.

There are several other persons in this business and one of them, who allegedly has been stealing petrol from pipelines for over 30 years, has now been caught. 

The Nigerian Navy said its personnel arrested an alleged notorious pipeline vandal kingpin, Mr Shaibu Ogunmola, under its Operation Awase in Lagos.

The arrest was announced on Tuesday.

Operation Awase was set up by the Nigerian Army in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy in 2014 to tackle the vandalism of the NNPC pipelines in Majidun, Ikorodu and other parts of the state and to crave the maximum cooperation of host communities. 

Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak, Leader of the operation, told reporters that Shuaibu and his boys were known for vandalising oil pipelines under the Altas Cove covering about 70 kilometres. 

The Atlas Cove Depot in Lagos was designed to receive imported petroleum products and through the line products are distributed to various part of the country. 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that at the Ilashe Community where Shuaibu operates, drums were buried by the sides of each pipeline to siphon products when being released from the Atlas cove to other depots.

“Two weeks back, we got information about the operation of some people in Ilashe, part of Atlas cove.

“Following that information, we came and realised that the oil pipelines have been divided into fields by three people, Shuaibu, Barshiru and Dele. 

“The arrest of Shuaibu which we did last week on January 17 was in line with the operation Awase which is about the protection of oil pipelines.

“He is the ring leader and has been in this business for over 30 years," he said

He said that Shuaibu had groomed some boys in the business. emphasising that his arrest was significant in ensuring the end of vandalism in Nigeria. 

Ngalabak further stated that Shuaibu would soon be handed over to relevant agency for immediate and  proper prosecution to serve as a deterrent to his boys and others in the line of business. 

“We hope that Shuaibu’s arrest will yield result and that proper people in position will do all that is required to punish him,’’ he added 

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He assured residents of Lagos State and Nigerians that the operation would not rest until all those involved in oil pipeline vandalism were arrested and brought to book. 

“We still have about three Shuaibu’s, we have Dele, we have Bashiru, and one other person and we are after them. 

“We are not going to rest until we get them, except if they leave Nigeria but we will make sure that we get them.

“And we know that they will not leave because this is where they make their money; but if they leave here, that is good for us because that is our aim but if they come back, we will get them,’’ he said.

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