Sokoto — Despite strong warnings and public enlightenment on the dangers of scooping fuel, some Nigerians are yet to desist from this dangerous and criminal act. Five persons recently met their deaths in two states while scooping fuel. Experience, it seems, counts for little. Weekly Trust reports
Plateau and Sokoto, two northern states were in the preceding week hit by separate tragic incidents, which led to the death of five persons. Probably lured by the passion for instant wealth, the victims died while attempting to scoop fuel. The incident in Plateau which occurred on October 7th, 2013, in Tariya village of Bassa Local Government Area of the state killed four brothers, all sons of Abdullahi Ibrahim. The brothers perished while reportedly scooping petroleum products from a ruptured pipeline in Tariya village. Weekly Trust gathered that the incident in Sokoto involved a 25-year old man simply indentified as Zayyanu, who met his waterloo while allegedly scooping fuel from a tanker in the Gandu area of Sokoto metropolis
Weekly Trust further gathered that before nemesis caught up with the four brothers in Tariya, two other villages in the area namely, Rafin Kura and Gurum have been favorite spots for pipeline vandals. Their activities were said to have led to the contamination of the Bassa River recently.
Weekly Trust learnt that the Plateau incident was ignited by an argument among five brothers. Reports say Idi Ibrahim, who was also among his brothers who went scooping fuel on a Monday morning, started arguing with his brothers during the scoop on how to share the loot.
In fists of anger, Idi, a smoker, reportedly lit a cigarette with matches and threw the matchstick into the well where oil was being scooped, resulting in an instant fire explosion.
Nevertheless, while Idi obviously, some distance away from the fountain of fire escaped unhurt, his brothers who were at the center of the inferno could not escape. Two of them died instantly, while the other two brothers, whose names were given by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) as Shuaibu Abdullahi and Fale Ali, died shortly after being rushed to Our Lady of Apostle (OLA) Hospital in Jos city. Ibrahim is still on the run.
Public Relations Officer of the NSCDC Naomi Cishak told Weekly Trust that "the father of the deceased brothers, Abdullahi Ibrahim told us that he had warned them severally against scooping petroleum, but they refused to heed the warning."
Cishak who said Ibrahim who identified his two sons in the hospital was shaken by their sudden death.
The NSCDC State Commandant, Vincent Bature said in August while parading seven suspected pipeline vandals including a female farmer, Tariya and Gurum in Bassa remain the most troublesome areas in pipeline vandalism. He said the NSCDC went to the extent of involving traditional rulers in its bid to curb the activities of pipeline vandals, but it has not solved the problem.
Bature said "the river in Bassa is now highly polluted, there is nothing there. Even the fishes are dying, the Fulani cattle rearers cannot even graze their cattle there and all the Fadama projects and rice produced there are now destroyed. Nobody can use that water."
It was learnt that members of the communities who are predominantly farmers and herders vandalize and scoop petroleum products from the pipelines that pass through their communities. The pipelines supply petrol to north eastern states.
Earlier in Sokoto, residents of Gandu in Sokoto metropolis were shocked at the manner of Zayyanu's death from alleged scooping of fuel.
Alhaji Isa Garba, the grief-stricken father of the deceased, visibly showed how much he has missed the support and security of his late son.
According to the father, the deceased had his primary education before he dropped out of secondary school to do learn driving.
Before joining the service of the fuel tanker which claimed his life, the deceased worked as commercial driver for 15 years.
Zayyanu has just started working under a tanker driver who happened to be his colleague and mate, who keeps him away for days.
Garba last saw his late son on Friday while preparing to go for Jumu'at prayer, only for people to appear with the corpse of his son.
It was learnt that late Zayyanu died in the tanker's compartment, but was not noticed until about three days after his corpse began to decompose before his remains were discovered.
More to his tragic end, nobody could ascertain the time and day, the deceased entered into the tanker's compartment. It was when people including his family members started searching for his where about that his remains were discovered.
The father described his late son, the fourth in the family, as obedient, caring and easy-going whom, he said, was preparing for his marriage and at the point of completing the house he was building.
The tanker driver Sanusi Danbaba in whose vehicle Zayyanu died, and who also employed the deceased because of their closeness stated that the situation was Allah's will. He said they could not imagine Zayyanu going into the tanker's compartment, which is highly risky.
He said the 33,000 litre tanker was virtually empty with only 25 litres remaining in it.
Danbaba, a resident of Gandu area and a friend to the deceased, said on Friday, he saw Zayyanu at the time people were preparing to go for Jumu'at prayer, but later in the day, he was alerted to go to a police station to bail his boy (the deceased) who was detained over a scuffle he had with a friend.
Midway to the police station, he said he was informed that his boy has been released earlier and so he came back home.
"I could not see Zayyanu again until his dead body was discovered by a junior after searching for him for three days," he said somberly.
He described Zayyanu as obedient and strong whom he enjoyed working with during the nine months they spent together.
The deceased younger brother, Abubakar described his deceased brother as friendly, caring and easy going.
The late Zayyanu had a fiancée and started marriage preparations. He was waiting to complete his house under construction before marriage, but fate had its own calculations and he died.