Acting Inspector General of Police Mr Ibrahim Kpotun Idris
Detectives attached to the Ilasamaja Police Station in Lagos State have uncovered 12 illegal oil wells.
Five suspected owners of the houses where the wells were found were also arrested while fetching diesel from the well, it was gathered.
Some petroleum tanker drivers who were at the area to buy the product took to their heels on sighting the police team.
All the houses on Abeokuta Close, off Ibadan Street, Ilasa, had water-wells turned into diesel wells, from which they ran a well-oiled operation, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered.
The suspects had allegedly connected water pumps into the wells, from which they pumped the products into overhead tanks.
The owner of one of the houses, who was arrested by the police, one Mrs. Moji Adeshina, was said to have chased out her tenants.
The Lagos State Commissioner Police, Fatai Owoseni, who was at the scene, said the residents had been advised to relocate.
“The Ilasa DPO had gathered intelligence that some houses had diesel where the landlords do illegal oil business. The landlady of one of the houses on Abeokuta Street was also selling the product. She chased out all her tenants.
“Some of the tenants have denied culpability. How can they live here in the midst of oil and keep quiet. This is a disaster. If there is a fire outbreak, it will be disastrous because the area is densely populated.
“After now, the Lagos State government will make an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to decide what to do with the diesel found in these wells.
“Already, the personnel of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are at the wells to collect sample and test the quality of the diesel.
“As investigation progresses, we will track the buyers of the products and also arrest them. Already, we are ferreting information from the suspects arrested,” he said.
Mrs. Moji said, “it is true that they found diesel in my well but I never sold it. I noticed it three weeks ago and I haven’t touched it.”
When she was asked why she did not report to the police and why she sent out her tenants, she said, “the house belonged to my late husband and it was transferred to me after his death. It was a well we used for water but later diesel started coming out of it.”
Another suspect, one Tajudeen Bamiloye of no 11 Abeokuta Street, said, “I came on my own to report the matter to the police. I am the landlord of one of the houses in question.
“My tenants called me about the well. When I got there and saw diesel inside the well, I went straight to report to the police. I am not a vandal.”
The other suspects; Mrs. Tayo Agboola, and Chinyere Nnadi, a landlady and tenant respectively, denied culpability, adding that they stayed off the well when they noticed the diesel.