Pipeline Vandals Kill Nine DSS Men In Lagos | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

News, Slider

Pipeline Vandals Kill Nine DSS Men In Lagos

Posted: Sep 17, 2015 at 12:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Andrew Utulu


Tragedy struck on Tuesday night when armed men suspected to be petroleum products pipeline vandals and oil thieves opened fire on operatives of the Department of State Security Services (DSS).

Reports have it that nine of the secret agents may have been killed in the attack.

The incident happened at Arepo, in Owutu, Ikorodu area of Lagos State.

According to Daily Independent investigations, the murdered DSS men had gone to the scene on receiving a distress call from officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) who had sighted hoodlums in the area siphoning petroleum products after vandalising the pipeline.

The DSS men were reported to have run into an ambush by the hoodlums who opened fire on them as they arrived the location.

When contacted for confirmation of the incident, Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Joe Offor, said that the police were yet to get a detailed report on the incident.

Offor, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said although there was an encounter in Owutu on Tuesday night where five persons were said to be missing, it was not established that the victims were security officials.

According to him, no one could yet confirm whether the people involved were policemen, soldiers, film-makers or men of the DSS.

He stated that the sketchy information at his disposal was that two unmarked buses were sighted in the area at the time of the incident, armed with cameras and video recording machines, which made people think they could be film makers.

He said that the incident happened about 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

He, however, said that the police had cordoned off the area, promising to get back to Daily Independent correspondent as soon as the true picture of what transpired is established. But he never did as at the time of going to the press.

Killings At Arepo

Six policemen and some military personnel had been killed in similar attacks in the past two weeks.

The Lagos State Police Command in January 2015 confirmed the killing of two policemen during a shoot-out with pipeline vandals at Owutu area of Ikorodu.

The command’s spokesperson at the time, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, had reported that the vandals in their numbers had gone there to vandalise pipelines and steal petrol.

They were said to be operating in the area at night when officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) intercepted them.

Following resistance by the vandals, the NSCDC called for reinforcement from the Police and the military.

With the joint effort to arrest the alleged oil thieves, fracas erupted in which two policemen were killed and the vandals sustained gunshot wounds.

As further reprisal attack, the pipeline vandals returned the following day and stormed the Owutu Police Station where they opened fire at policemen on duty.

Nwosu said that that two of the policemen were shot dead, while about five others were injured in the fracas.

 In May 2014, pipeline vandals also killed nine policemen at the same location.

The vandals had stormed the Arepo area in about 14 speed-boats to carry out an illegal oil bunkering deal.

Policemen of the Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Task Force attached to the Inspector-General of Police had run into the criminals leading to fierce gun duel. The vandals, who were more than the policemen had overwhelmed them, killing nine while some others escaped with gunshot wounds.

One of the pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the area was reportedly hit during the shoot out, resulting in an inferno that lasted several days.

The murdered policemen were ASP Abdullahi Bature, Inspr. Raymond Oriere, Inspr. Usman Mohammed, Inspr. Oguntihemen Kolawole, Inspr. Tijani Jimoh, CPL Elogbamen Timothy, CPL Yakubu Aliyu, CPL Usman Abdukarim and CPL Dauda Mohammed.

Twenty persons suspected to be involved in the 2014 killing are currently being tried at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The accused persons are Felix Yayu (M), 25 years; Ijoufaya (M), 42 years; Yakubu Ebiwei (M), 45 years; Augustine Ebiwei (M), 28 years; Tamara Dembofa (M), 32 years; Owei Atile (M), 37 years; Agbara Tiewei (M), 43 years; Rufus Godwin (M), 45 years; Tiery Koiyetin (M), 22 years and Ebis Sobijoh (M), 22 years.

Others are Ibori Lawrence (M), 45 years; Eberebu Ibori (M), 30 years; Atinuke Odewale (F), 42 years; Fatai Ishola (M), 32 years; Ahmed Bashorun (M), 42 years; Odewale Waheed (M), 43 years; Susan Viana (F), 54 years; Tuesday Filatei (M), 36 years; Yeiyah Yellow (M), 28 years and Ismail Abdullahi (M), 47 years.

They were charged under the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation, Sections 3 (6), 7(b), 17(a) and 4(a) and Section 319 of the Criminal Code Cap C38 Laws of the Federation, 2004.

At the opening of the trial in Lagos, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Usman Aliyu, had told the Court that the suspected pipeline vandals sang war songs before firing gunshots at the policemen.

The war songs, according to the witness, were sung in Ijaw dialect interpreted to mean that, “We have come to claim what belong to us.”

Aliyu made the revelation at the continued trial of 20 persons, among them, a 54-year-old woman, Susan Viana, who are all standing trial on a 14-count charge bothering on conspiracy, pipeline vandalism, oil theft and unlawful killings.

While being cross-examined by the defence lawyers, Aliyu recalled that when he heard the gunshot, he went to alert the police officers on patrol, and that they eventually found out that the suspected pipeline vandals were in Army uniform.

When asked whether he would agree that the people that sang the war songs were from oil producing states since they were claiming what belong to them according to the lyrics of the songs, the witness replied in the negative.

He added: “I was told by my men that the war songs were sung in Ijaw dialect. I’m aware that the suspected vandals fired gunshots and I saw them physically.

“My position as at the time of the event to the Arepo water was not far but I can’t identify anybody on the boat inside the Arepo water that day,” Aliyu narrated.

Another clash between the vandals and members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (APC) had in April 2015 left a pregnant lady dead and four others hit by stray bullets.

The residents of Beachland Estate in Arepo were put under siege for hours as the two combatants clashed.

Damilola, who was carrying six months’ pregnancy, was gunned down on her way from the hospital where she had gone to visit her sick husband.

Days before the incident, men of the Nigeria Police had been withdrawn from protecting the pipelines and replaced by the OPC guards, who were engaged through by NNPC through a contract signed with the group for the patrol and surveillance of the pipeline areas.

President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled the contract, including a similar one with militants in the Niger Delta.