(August 13, 2016) The Lagos State Government has shut 12 houses on Abeokuta and Ibadan Streets in Ilasamaja area of the State over discovery of shallow oil wells built by landlords to illegally scoop diesel from pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The oil wells were said to have been built for the purpose of illegally scooping diesel and selling same to members of the public, while some of the affected landlords installed pumping machine and bore hole to perpetrate the crime on a large scale.
The State's Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde who confirmed this to newsmen at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said the step to shut the wells and cordon off the area was taken by government to forestall loss of lives and property as a result of imminent danger posed by the illegal operation.
Ayorinde, who addressed journalists alongside top government functionaries and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said a combined team from the police command, the Ministry of Environment, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, Lagos State Fire Service and Sole Administrator of Isolo Local Council Development Area carried out a thorough inspection of the entire area and discovered nothing less than 12 of the illegal oil wells.
He said that initial investigation revealed that a few of the landlords where the wells are located were taking advantage of the situation by commercializing the dangerous act.
He said that samples of the substance have been taken for immediate investigation in order to determine the true nature of the substance as well as its root cause.
He said the state government was working with the NNPC for further investigation.
Ayorinde said that for the safety of residents, especially on Abeokuta and Ibadan Streets, the affected wells have been sealed off, adding that the government would also work with those who are likely to be displaced as a result of the development.
“The Lagos State Government wishes to use this opportunity to remind Lagosians and the residents of these areas in particular, to assist the police with useful information and to urge them to always volunteer information before any potentially dangerous situation degenerates to public hazard,” he said.
Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police confirmed the arrest of three suspects in the operation, adding that a fire tanker has been stationed in the event of any fire incident.
The men of the Lagos State Police Command in the area who were on routine patrol said they saw a woman around midnight with a keg of diesel and when they attempted to accost her, she fled, a development which alerted the police of something fishy.
The police immediately pursued the woman and she eventually took them to number 12, Abeokuta Street, off Ilasamaja, one of the houses housing the illegal oil wells.
Upon getting to the said house, those inside shut the door and prevented the police from gaining access.
The officers left the scene with the arrested woman, and later came back disguising as potential buyers of diesel, while those inside opened the door.
It was at that point that the illegal oil well was discovered at the house, after which about ten more wells were discovered in other houses in Abeokuta and Ibadan streets.