The Nigerian Navy through its Operation Awatse and Kurombe has marked no less than additional 200 illegal structures and shanties for demolition on some islands in parts of Lagos State and Ogun watersides.
It said that the proposed demolition would be another phase after it destroyed 462 illegal strictures in and around Atlas Cove last December.
Navy Cdr. Thomas Otuji, the Media Coordinator of Operation AWATSE and KUROMBE, said this in a statement he made available to newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday.
He said that the illegal structures (shanties) would be demolished in Old Akinbo Island which has 12 structures and five structures marked at Aditu.
He listed others marked for demolition to include: “Phase 2 with 17 structures, Ikate with 22 structures, Upstairs with five structures and Virgin Land with three structures for demolition.
“White House has three structures, Akaraba has 62 structures, Idi Mangoro has 28 structures, Waterside has 19 structures, Ilado has 57 structures, and Robert has 13 structures.
“Abule Glass has 21 structures and Ilashe has 37 structures,’’ he said.
Otuji, however, advised law abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses.
He said that during the previous raid, the officers discovered fabricated pipes and multiple hoses connected to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines used by the vandals to illegally siphon petrol.
Otuji also said that no less than 300 points discovered along the pipelines were dismantled by members of the Operation.
“It is instructive to note that during the raid, some foreigners also were found on the Islands without any form of documentations.
“Interrogations of dwellers by troops of Operation AWATSE revealed that vandals colluded with miscreants to export stolen petroleum products to neighbouring countries thereby short-changing Nigeria.
“In view of these atrocities, it has become expedient to identify the illegal structures for demolition so as to sanitise the entire islands of the mischief makers there,” he said.
He urged law abiding citizens to promptly report any infractions by criminals to the Operation’s headquarters for prompt actions.
“For legitimate residents of the Islands, let me re-assure them that for no reason will troops of Operation AWATSE unduly harass or intimidate anyone.
He said that the Operation AWATSE officers were there to carry out their mandate and would be guided by its Standing Operating Procedure and Rules of Engagement.
“You are enjoined to cooperate with the troops to rid the islands of criminals for the benefits of the inhabitants of the place and for a safer environment,” Otuji said.
He said that Operation AWATSE would continue with the ongoing raids of destroying the capacity of pipelines vandals who had been disrupting the distribution of petroleum products by the NNPC.
Otuji said that the Operation was set up to curb pipeline vandalism, crude oil and petroleum product theft, but to uphold anti-kidnapping, anti-robbery, anti-cultism.
He added that it was also to curb other crime-related activities that could impact negatively on the security of Lagos and Ogun; particularly Epe and Ogun watersides.
The commander said the mandate entailed Operation AWATSE protecting critical NNPC pipelines, within the Right Of Way from Atlas Cove to Mosimi were billions of naira had been lost to the activities of pipeline vandals.
“You will agree with me that Operation AWATSE in the past had engaged in a series of operations within the same corridor with huge seizures of various petroleum- related materials from criminals.
“After several considerations and consultations, the Defence Headquarters deemed it necessary to embark on a surgical operation in order to sanitise the entire Atlas Cove and its environs of all forms of criminality.
“From the early hours of Dec.21, 2019 till date, troops of Operations AWATSE have continued to engage in surgical operations to dislodge pipelines vandals from NNPC facilities at Atlas Cove and its environs in Lagos ,” he said.
He added that 150,000 empty jerry cans were discovered, no less than 5,000 jerry cans with PMS were confiscated and 310 wells and pits with PMS were also discovered.
He added that 21 canoes and two boats were also recovered from the vandals.