Operatives of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Surveillance Team on Wednesday arrested a policeman and a tanker driver who are part of a pipeline vandals syndicate using a Lagos hotel as base.
The News Agency of Nigeria gathered that the surveillance team traced the smell of petrol to a burst pipeline, which was channeled to a waiting tanker at Glonik Hotels on Social Club Road in Abule Egba area of Lagos.
The team leader, Aminu King, told NAN: “We had a gun battle with the men securing the vandals, but they were later overpowered by my men.
“A tanker driver and one policemen were arrested.
“Another policeman who was with the vandals escaped with the hotel manager, but the receptionist, the waitress and other occupants of the hotel were rounded up.
“We later discovered that the whole compound of the hotel was filled with tanks and 50 litre jerry cans filled with petrol.
“This act has been going on for a long time because their tanks had changed colour as they had been storing petrol in it.”
A woman believed to have been abducted and was found tied up in a room inside the hotel was also rescued by the operatives.
NAN also gathered that policemen attached to Ijaye Division also responded to a distress call from the scene, which almost led to a rivalry between the security operatives.
The hotel receptionist, Rachel Egbede, told NAN that she started working at the hotel three weeks ago after the previous workers were sacked.
Egbede said: “I also observed that some men gather here by 10pm every night, claiming they came for a meeting, and whenever I challenge them, my manager usually tells me to let them be.
“Most times I see policemen with them so I never suspected anything until today that I started hearing gunshots in the middle of the night before we were all rounded up.”
The arrested tanker driver, Waliu Tella, also told NAN that he brought his tanker to the location after he was promised N500,000 per trip.
NAN reports that five tankers and two tanker heads were packed at the scene as the NNPC survellance team, Policemen, OP MESA team, OP AWATSE and the Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps cordoned off the area.
When contacted, the spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said he was yet to be briefed of the incident.