At least 10 houses have been shut at Ilasamaja area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria as 12 illegal diesel oil wells have been uncovered in the houses where massive bunkering activities were being carried out.
Officials of the police, led by the Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni; Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and others were at the scene on Friday evening and sealed off the houses while residents have fled to avoid arrest.
General Manager, LASEMA, Michael Akindele said the agency received a distress call via the 767 toll-free line on Friday about diesel theft around Ibadan and Abeokuta Street, Ilasamaja area of Lagos.
“Investigation by the Emergency Rescue Team, ERT of LASEMA at the scene of the incident revealed that over 10 houses were said to have diesel in their wells.
“Further probing into the incident revealed that it is a case of bunkering as eyewitness gave reports of trucks coming in at night to load diesel. However, the source of the diesel is still unknown. There was no loss of lives; the area has been assessed to be a site of potential disaster. There was swift and prompt action by the agency and its stakeholders.
Also present at the scene were officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps Anti-vandal unit, police officers, officials of the Isolo Local Council Development Area, LCDA.
According to Akindele, the affected area had been cordoned off, while occupants of the affected houses were asked to vacate immediately to avoid any disaster.
He said the Lagos State Government would soon come out with further action to be taken on the matter, while commending Lagosians for given out the information on time.
Investigation revealed that illegal oil bunkering usually take place in the area around 12 midnight. The illegal business is said to have been going on in the last two years.
In one of the houses, the landlady is said to have a pumping machine used in pumping diesel from the well for sale.
The woman was said to have driven away the tenants as she concentrated solely on diesel oil bunkering in the dead of the night.
State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde said the government discovered 12 shallow wells with the presence of diesel oil in them where diesel were being pumped out and sold to unsuspecting members of the public.
He said a combined team led by the Commissioner of Police, Owoseni visited the area and carried out thorough inspection and discovered the presence of 12 oil wells.
Ayorinde said samples of the oil had been taken for test to determine the nature of the substance, adding that for safety, the affected wells had been sealed off.
The commissioner disclosed that a few landlords had been taken advantage of the situation to sell diesel products to the public.
He said affected residents would be relocated by the government, while calling on residents to always give useful information to the government whenever such things occur.
Speaking, Owoseni disclosed that three people had been arrested by the police in connection with the illegal oil bunkering, adding that some landladies in the area had taken advantage of the situation to profit from the business.
Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe said the fire station at Ilasamaja was on ground to prevent any outbreak of fire, while advising residents to report anything that might lead to outbreak of fire to the fire service for prompt action.