Operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have uncovered two wells at Ejigbo area of Lagos state being used to siphon petroleum products from an NNPC pipeline by two suspects, Vitoria Ogunsomi and Shafe Abayomi.
The wells were discovered at 4 and 2 Surprise Avenue Ejigbo area of the state after concerned residents reported the illegal activities.
According to the police, Ogunsomi, 54, and Abayomi who are believed to be owners of the wells, were arrested when operatives of the IRT headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari learnt of their activities.
The team of operatives noted that the suspects had dug 75 feet wells each in their compounds located few metres away from the NNPC pipeline. They were said to have connected pipes with submissive pumping machines into the well linking with the pipeline.
The police source said, “Sources explained that the suspects would put on their pumping machines and scooped the products into jerry cans and tanker trucks.
“It was learnt that the suspects who were alleged to have made millions of naira from the illicit business, ran into trouble when IRT operatives got wind of their activities through intelligence from some residents of the area.”
The residents exposed their activities for fear of massive fire outbreak that could have devastating effect in the area and alerted the police.
The police revealed. “The source told us that the big trucks come at night to convey the products. When we acted on the information, we stormed the buildings and found the wells with pipes and pumps in it and the stench of fuel was every where.
“At Ogunsomi’s apartment, we found jerry cans filled with petroleum products, but Mr. Abayomi smartly dismantled the pipes and pumping machine in his own well before we arrived in his own compound. But we are currently working on tracing and apprehending people who have been buying these stolen products from them.”
Reacting to her arrest, Ogunsomi, a widow with three children, claimed that she and her neighbor Abyomi, were not pipeline vandals, but that they have regularly diverted petroleum products from the ruptured NNPC pipeline located close to their house.
She alleged that the petroleum products flowed into their wells and they sell them to people in their neighborhood.
“I am from Okitupupa area of Ondo State. I have three children but I am a widow. My late husband bought the land where we built our house in 1984 and we dug that well in the year 1999. We were using for water, but we later discovered petrol in it.”
“We contacted and alerted our landlord Association about it and we all agreed that we will go to the police station and the Local Government but hey advised us to go to NNPC and the NNPC sent two delegates to know what was happening.
The delegates came and took sample of the water. After that they didn’t come again. I have been arrested by SARS in 2016 before because I sold just three jerry cans of this petrol to someone.”
Despite being released and warned to desist from the well, Ogunsomi couldn’t resist it. She decried, “I am sorry that I went back to it again and I was arrested”.Follow us on social media