The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, over the weekend, sealed up two houses and arrested eight suspects, including the landlords of the houses, for allegedly digging oil wells in their compounds.
The houses which have wells supplying petrol rather than water are located in Animatu Ilo Street, Ejigbo, Lagos State.
The arrested persons are mainly occupants of the buildings as they are deemed as accomplices under the law. The main suspects, who are owners of the buildings, are still being detained at the NSCDC custody pending investigations and eventual prosecution.
National Mirror gathered from NSCDC that the suspects dug their boreholes to the level of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, pipelines which runs through a section of the Ejigbo community; consequent upon which fuel running through the pipelines is diverted into the boreholes.
A visit to the affected houses at No 17 and 30, Animatu Ilo Street revealed that officials of the NSCDC, assisted by the Nigerian Army, had cordoned off the scene.
At No 30, the smell of fuel pervaded the entire compound and it became more intense when the well was opened. Attempts by NSCDC officials to draw out water from the well revealed that indeed there was no water in the well, but fuel.
At No 17, which was exactly opposite No 30, the same scenario was repeated as there was another oil well there. There were many jerry cans filled with fuel at the back of the houses; indicating that occupants of the houses are in the know of the illicit activities going on there.
All the suspects, however, denied any illicit trading of the product. Mrs. Funke Ogling, who has lived at No 30, for eight years, claimed that the leakage of fuel into their borehole was a recent development.
According to her, she had been living in the house with her children and her husband who she said was currently away on a business trip.
“All these years, we have pumped water out of that borehole. It was only a month ago that we discovered that fuel was leaking into our water. We didn’t purposely destroy any pipeline for that to happen.
“Immediately, my husband and I noticed this, we reported the incident to the Ejigbo police division and to some NNPC officials. They actually came twice to our house with a tanker to empty the borehole.
“They told us that they would be back on Monday to check if there was still fuel and that if there was, they would fill up the borehole with sand and dig another one for us. Till date, we still pump water out of that well.”
One of the landlords, a 60-year-old contractor, simply known as Mr. Aromas, who was arrested with his wife and three children, claimed that he bought the house at No 17, six years ago from its original owner with the borehole already sunk.