Operatives of the Inspector General of Police Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism have arrested a self-confessed politician, Wahab Junaid, for vandalising a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline in the Obafemi/ Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State
The officer-in-charge of the task force, ACP Friday Ibadin, said Junaid, aka Doctor, was one of the unit’s most wanted pipeline vandals. He explained that Doctor was arrested at Ifote village in the local council.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Doctor had allegedly been arrested and arraigned three times, but was discharged and acquitted.
However, the 59-year-old politician said he went back to vandalism in order to raise money to contest a political post in 2015.
He said, “After I regained my freedom in 2012, I stopped anything that has to do with pipeline vandalism.
“I am an active member of a political party in this state (Lagos). So, when the slot for the House of Representatives was zoned to my area, my people nominated me to represent them. Since I know that I had a good chance of winning the election, I accepted. I was told to go and look for money to sponsor my campaigns.
“In the course of looking for funds, a friend of mine, Oloje, who is also a vandal, informed me that the area was calm, and that I could come and lift some fuel and get money for my political ambition.
“I was waiting with my tankers to lift the product when policemen arrested me. My enemies, who are bitter that I was anointed for the political position, betrayed me. Please forgive me and give me another chance. I am sorry and I promise that as soon as I am elected, I will assist the police in the war against pipeline vandalism.”
Juniad said a full tanker could be bought for N1.5m from vandals and sold for N3m.
Junaid, who claimed to be veterinary doctor, said he was first arrested and arraigned in court in 2008.
“I was discharged and acquitted in 2010. I was also arrested at Epe in 2010 and after several months, I regained my freedom again. The third time was in 2012, when policemen from FESTAC division arrested and arraigned me in court. I was able to secure my freedom yet again.”
The task force boss, Ibadin, explained that after his latest acquittal, the unit got a tip-off that Junaid had returned to bursting pipelines and had successfully moved several truck of petrol from pipelines in Lagos and Ogun states.
Ibadin said, “On September 15, 2014, detectives acted on an intelligence report that Junaid was back and currently operating with his boys at Ogere. Detectives, led by Ogere Sector Commander, ASP Shakwallo Philemon, stormed the area, arrested him and also recovered three big valves already mounted on NNPC right of way. This is the fourth time Junaid will be arrested by the police.
“We are still on the trail of his accomplices who managed to escape. We will again take him to court and we hope that he will get what he deserves this time around.”
In another development, the task force also busted an illegal local refinery at Osara, near Lokoja in Kogi state. The owners were said to have fled as soon as they sighted the policemen.
Ibadin said the taskforce was still combing the village for those who constructed the refinery.