There is palpable fear that large scale oil theft could be triggered in the country by the return of some suspected petrol thieves posing as security surveillance operators around oil pipeline facilities in Lagos state. This fear is heightened by reports from local community heads where these key oil infrastructures are located, Leadership reports.

The paramount ruler of one of the volatile areas, Baruwa community in Ayobo/Ipaja Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos in the outskirts of the state, Alhaji Khalil Baruwa, said that the presence of some youths who posed as security surveillance teams and the emergence of makeshift structures right on the Right Of Way has been raising suspicion and anxiety among the residents. He said he had reported the case to the Divisional Police Officer of the area but the police said pipeline surveillance is not under its purview and could only act when any criminal infractions are reported.

On the presence of the suspected youths and illegal structures, the management of the PPMC Mosimi indicated that the agency has signed contracts with some local firms for maintenance of the facility. A manager in the agency who would not want to be named said, “We have signed contracts with some firms to maintain the pipeline and one of the agreements is that they will account for any product loss, so they may be the ones that placed the surveillance team in place”.