Officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC) have shot an Assistant Superintendent of Police attached to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Adeniji Adele, Lagos State, Charles Achidika, while escaping with stolen fuel.
Two other suspected oil thieves who are yet to be identified were also shot by the officials during a gun duel as they tried to escape with stolen fuel on the Badagry waterways around 2am on Wednesday, December 2, 2015.
The injured suspects who are still unconscious as at the time of filing this report, are currently receiving treatment at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.
The officer and other suspects had reportedly attempted to transport 12,400 litres of petrol, said to have been stolen from a vandalised pipeline, to Seme, a Lagos border town.
Achidika allegedly opened fire on officials of the corps when the boat conveying the fuel was flagged down but was later overpowered and arrested.
The NSCDC officials also arrested five other suspects who were identified as; Bendran Isaac, Kobla Fashawo, Jimoh Olusegun, Akapo Joseph, and Amos Bakom.
An AK-47 rifle with the Nigeria Police Force inscribed on it and a pistol were recovered from them.
Achidika told newsmen that he was not part of the illegal oil business, and claimed the boat operators were carrying him to where he wanted to apprehend some robbers when he was shot.
He said, “I am the Officer-in-Charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad attached to Badagry.
“We went for an anti-robbery operation. During the operation, officers of the NSCDC shot me. I didn’t go there to steal fuel. I don’t have the strength to talk.”
However, one of the arrested suspects, Jimoh Olusegun, 31, said he and two other suspects, Fashawo and Bakom were taking the Achidika for the operation on the sea when they observed that the NSCDC officials had arrested two of their accomplices, Isaac and Joseph with a fuel-laden boat.
Olusegun claimed that the ASP had wanted to free them when the gun duel began.
He said: “Officer Charles (Achidika) said he wanted to arrest some suspects on the sea, that we should take him there. On our way back, we saw a big boat and some persons with some NSCDC officers. We told the policeman to let us go since the people seemed to be in NSCDC custody, but he didn’t listen to us. It was the police officer that shot first before the NSCDC officials responded. We were not caught with fuel.”
31-year-old Isaac, a Togolese, said a man called Champion had engaged him and six other fishermen to take the fuel to Seme, adding that he never met the cop prior to the fateful day.
He said, “I am a fisherman. A man called Champion came to me and said I would always help him to transport some fuel to Seme. We were taking the fuel to Seme when we were arrested on the waterways. They brought us to the shore and anchored our boat. The policeman came and asked who put us there and I told him it was the NSCDC.
“He ordered me to move the boat. I didn’t know him before. I started the engine and when we got to the middle of the sea, he shot in the air. The NSCDC men responded and there was a gun battle. This is my first time of carrying fuel. I am just the driver.”
The Lagos State Commandant of the corps, Gabriel Abafi, said six of the suspects escaped while the crossfire lasted. He added that the command swung into action after receiving a tip-off.
He said, “The suspects were caught around Gberefu community in Badagry after a tip-off. On getting there, we saw a fishing boat filled with pirates and arrested them. They shot at our men. Among them was a police officer. The police officer and two others were wounded. About 496 of 25litres of fuel, an AK-47 rifle and a pistol were recovered. Investigation is on.”
When contacted, the spokesperson for FSARS, Mr. Lekan Ogundare, said: “I am on election duty now. I don’t have details of that incident. I will get back to you on Monday.”