By Evelyn Usman
At Akaragba village, a riverine community near Atlas Cove in Lagos, vandals attacked guards contracted to watch Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, pipelines, weekend, leaving many of them injured.
Five of the guards were reportedly abducted, while some of their tents were razed by the vandals.
However, 23 suspected vandals, among them two women, were arrested with jerricans filled with siphoned petroleum products.
Vanguard gathered that the private guards had been away from the community for three weeks, owing to the recent fracas with Naval personnel.
However, upon resumption last Thursday, some of the underground pipelines were discovered to have been broken by vandals.
Briefing journalists on the attack, Managing Director, ToplineLighton Energy, Chief Aminu Olawale, explained that the vandals laid ambush on his men while repairs were being effected on the broken pipelines.
Speaking with journalists shortly before the suspects were handed over to the Police, some of them admitted to have cashed in on the absence of the guards, while others denied culpability.
One of them, 27-year-old Olamide Amoo, alleged that security personnel were also involved in pipeline vandalisation.
The father of three, who was armed with an axe at the time of arrest, said: “Since the guards left, I have been here five times. I come here to hustle to feed my wife and children.
“I am not among those who break new pipes; I dig from old pipes.”