There were fears in the Ikorodu area of Lagos on Sunday as armed security officers stormed some creeks around the community, impounding several ferries loaded with stolen petroleum products.
It was learnt that some pipeline vandals were also arrested in the joint operation which comprised operatives of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The operation, which was still on as of 2pm when our correspondent left the area, was said to have started at about 2am.
A helicopter, said to be owned by the navy, was sighted hovering over the area. It wasgathered that the helicopter was in the area on Thursday to monitor the activities of the vandals.
The operation also caused gridlock from Agric bus stop to Majidun as the gun-wielding men harassed motorists. They also forced some commercial bus drivers and passersby to the creeks to evacuate the fuel.
Our correspondent allowed himself to be ‘forced’ into one of the creeks.
At the creek, armed men were seen directing civilians to offload fuel in kegs from ferries into trucks. No fewer than five trucks loaded with the products were counted by PUNCH Metro.
A bus conductor, Jide, who shuttles between Ketu and Ikorodu, condemned being forced to evacuate the fuel.
He said, “We were coming from Ikorodu Garage when they stopped our bus. I was forced to carry several jerrycans of fuel. It is very annoying.”
A resident, who identified herself as Funmi, said the activities of the security agents had created panic in the area, adding that some residents had fled the community.
“We have been holding our breath since 2am when the operation started. Most people have left the community for fear of being arrested. Two days ago, I noticed a helicopter hovering over here for about five hours,” she said.
The spokesperson for the Lagos State Command of NSCDC, Mr. Mefor Chibuzor, said the corps was aware of the exercise.
Chibuzor added that security agencies would continue to arrest vandals until they desist from tampering with petroleum pipelines.
“A joint operation involving our men, naval and army officers is ongoing around Agric and Majidun. Some vandals have been arrested, while jerrycans loaded with petroleum products have been recovered.
“The creeks were busted following an intelligence report. We will continue to go after the vandals until they stop damaging public property,” he said.