Pipeline vandalism: Kingpin captured in Lagos

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Tuesday announced the capture of Mr Shuaibu Ogunmola, an alleged notorious oil pipeline vandalism kingpin.

The NNPC said the illegal activities of the kingpin through the years led to the loss of millions of litres of products along the Lagos Atlas Cove strip in the strategic System 2B pipeline network.

The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said Ogunmola was captured recently at his luxury hotel in Ilashe community, along the Badagry Creek by officers and men of Operation AWATSE, a Joint Military Task Force on oil theft and pipeline vandalism anchored by the Western Naval Command, Apapa, Lagos.

The corporation explained that investigations thus far revealed that Ogunmola had operated a thriving oil theft racket for decades, hacking pipelines in some island communities in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State along the System 2B network right-of-way.

Providing details on the mode of operation of the Ogunmola-led syndicate, the NNPC said the gang executed their illegal trade by digging holes metres away from the corporation’s products pipeline, which essentially served as storage tanks for products directly siphoned from the lines at a hack point.

These holes, which were cast in drums, received products simultaneously from the labyrinth of pipelines connected to the trunk line directly linked to the ruptured NNPC line.

The products so harvested are later scooped or transferred into jerrycans and drums and are sold to ready buyers that usually throng the beach side.

From that point, the NNPC spokesperson stated that the products were shipped to Cotonou, which had a firmly established market for smuggled Nigerian fuel.

Commenting on the significance of the arrest of the notorious oil theft kingpin, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak,  who doubles as the Commander of Operation AWATSE, said the feat was the beginning of a well mapped out strategy to halt the menace of pipeline vandals across the zone.

He explained that Ogunmola was the ultimate godfather of oil thieves in Ilashe and adjoining settlements where he consigned portions of his territory and offered operating rights to other thieves to operate and bring in returns at agreed rates and terms.
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