Lagos — Operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the early hours of yesterday engaged suspected petroleum pipeline vandals at 7th Avenue area of FESTAC Town, Lagos in a gun battle.
At the end of the operation which residents say lasted for about 2 hours, a yet to be ascertained number of persons were said to have been injured.
Recovered from the vandals after the shoot-out were 286 50 litres jerry cans already filled with petroleum products suspected to be Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
Daily Trust learnt that the operatives mounted surveillance in the area following information from residents who feared that the activities of the vandals could cause an explosion if not checked.
The source also told Daily Trust that the operation started around 1am yesterday when they sighted the vandals scooping fuel from an already ruptured Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline.
It was learnt that the vandals opened fire as soon as they sighted the operatives, and that the development led to a gun battle.
A source at the NSCDC headquarters in Alausa told Daily Trust that when the vandals who were badly injured during the exchange of fire discovered that they had been overpowered, they abandoned their filled jerry cans and fled.
Confirming the incident, the Lagos Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr Obafaiye Shem, said operatives recovered the products from the fleeing vandals, adding that the suspects fled due to what he described as superior fire power of his officers.
"Following a tip-off, our men laid ambush for the vandals who have been vandalising pipelines at 7th Avenue, FESTAC. We also blocked them at Ije-Ododo area. On sighting my men, they opened fire on them, but we overpowered them and forced them to abandon their looted fuel and fled," he said.