Posted by News Express | 26 May 2014 | 3,698 times
Five policemen have been declared missing following a shootout involving security operatives and pipeline vandals, at Arepo, off along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in Ogun State. The incident happened in the early hours of yesterday. Arepo, a town near Lagos, is known for its Journalists Estate founded by the Lagos State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Nine policemen, who were attached to the Nigerian National Corporation (NNPC), for pipeline surveillance in the area, engaged the vandals who attempted to scoop fuel. Only four of the policemen were seen after the clash.
The NNPC pipeline was severely ruptured in the process, resulting in an explosion and heavy fire balls from the scene, which emergency services and the fire service, are battling to put off as at press time.
Confirming the incident, the South West Zonal spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, said the agency was alerted and subsequently informed NNPC on the development.
He said: “There was a pipeline explosion early this morning. Exchange of gunfire between the pipeline security team and vandals started yesterday, but got to the peak by midnight.
“The Inspector General of Police entered into an agreement with the NNPC to be manning the pipeline in the area, unfortunately less than five meters to the flash point which has been the focus of activities for the past two years, vandals came yesterday and attacked them and they exchanged gunfire.”
Farinloye who visited the site of the incident yesterday morning told our reporter that access to the area was difficult because of its rough terrain. “It was not clear how many officers may be missing,” he said.
When contacted, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the killing and or abduction.
According to him, the vandals waylaid the team of the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of pipeline surveillance, who were on their routine patrol of the NNPC installations and went away with yet to be ascertained number of policemen.
He added that the vandals had set the pipeline ablaze which compelled the police team to embark on the journey towards providing security for the place before they were abducted.
The PPRO also said that the inferno prevented the police and other security and safety officers of the NNPC from gaining access to the area.
Arepo was the scene of the killing of three NNPC officials by vandals in 2012.
•Adapted from a National Mirror report. Photo shows Police IG, M.D. Abubakar.
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