By Moshood Adebayo, Abeokuta
A suspect, Monday Bitrus, yesterday indicted a serving police sergeant and five others for allegedly aiding and abetting in the vandalisation of pipelines in Ogun State. Also arrested was a herbalist, a woman and 26 others for allegedly tampering with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines in Ajura Village, near Ogere, Ikenne Local Government Area of the state
The arrest was made last Sunday by a joint military operation led by the officers and men of the Nigerian Army from the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta.
Addressing newsmen at the scene yesterday, the Commander, Brig-Gen. David Ahmadu, while lamenting the incident, described vandalism as an economic sabotage.
His words: ‚ÄúWhat has happened is actually the collaborative efforts of security agencies in the state and I am using this opportunity to sound a note of warning to persons who may want to indulge in such act of criminality‚Äô‚Äô ‚ÄúNo act of criminality will be allowed in Ogun State and Nigeria in general, as far as pipeline vandalism and any other act of criminality is concerned,‚Äù Gen. Ahmadu said.
Meanwhile, while being paraded at Alamala Barracks, some suspected vandals caused a stir as they accused Sergeant Adamu attached to Ogere police station as one of their alleged sponsors in the illegal business. The suspect, Bitrus, aged 20, from Katsina State aslo said that he joined the business about two months ago. He said five members of the gang are from the police in the area.
His words: ‚ÄúWe were working for Sergeant Adamu. This is the second time I will be working for him there. The first time, I was paid N6, 000 but, he has not paid me for this before Army came and scattered the place.‚Äù
Another suspect who gave his name as Ibrahim Wasiu, 22, also confirmed the involvement of the police in the illicit trade, saying, ‚Äúbefore our arrest, I could count five to six policemen who were with us. ‚ÄúI was lured by my friend popularly called Owoseni because I don‚Äôt have money, but, after I loaded the first motor and about loading the second motor when the Army just came and stopped us,‚Äù he said.
Items recovered from the suspects include seven vehicles, 363 jerry cans as well as a long hose and charms. The suspects were later handed over to the state Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr. Akinwande Aboluwaye, who said they will be charged to court as soon as investigation is completed.