Private guards attached to Topline Security, charged with securing Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC’s pipelines at the Atlas Cove, Lagos, have accused some personnel of Nigerian Navy of releasing seized petroleum products back to vandals, thereby encouraging the illicit business.
The guards who threatened to violently engage personnel of the Nigerian Navy in a clash last week, at Ilashe Island, Idi-Mongoro area of Atlas Cove, explained that their action was borne out of their resolve to stop alleged irregularities on recovered siphoned products by the Navy.
The Navy had vigorously denied the allegation, and instead, accused the guards of the ones conniving with vandals to siphon petroleum products from the area.
The Naval personnel from the Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft, Apapa, led by the Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Okon Eyo, had gone to the Island to effect arrest of vandals and recover siphoned petroleum product, when they met resistance from the guards.
The guards, prevented the naval personnel from getting to where the recovered product were parked, on the ground that the arrest was made by them and not the Navy.
But for Eyo’s intervention, the situation would have gone out of hand.
Commander of the private guards unit at Atlas Cove, Aminu Jeremiah, alleged that previous seizures handed over to the Navy never got to NNPC.
According to Jeremiah, “we impounded two cars with fuel at Virgin Land, but the occupants fled on sighting us. Later, I started receiving telephone calls from officers of the Nigerian Navy to release the products. But I refused, on the ground that I had to get directive from Abuja.
“Four days later, 18 naval personnel came and told me that their commander said I should release the vehicles and jerry cans to them. By then, I had made another arrest of over 3,000 jerry cans.
“Again, I refused and insisted that I must get directive from my bosses in Abuja first. They even told me that their commander said they should arrest me if I refuse to release the recovered items to them.”