Soldiers from the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army threatened to skin alive a Punch correspondent, Deji Lambo, on Wednesday when he visited the scene where suspected vandals had ruptured the pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation along the Long Bridge on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Ogun State.
According to the Punch, the suspected vandals were stealing fuel from the pipeline when the soldiers reportedly stormed the crime scene.
Upon sighting the soldiers, it was learnt that the vandals abandoned the vehicles and fled.
Afterwards, the soldiers took over the crime scene and impounded the fuel-laden tankers.
When our correspondent visited the crime scene, soldiers and officials of the NNPC were sighted.
Attempts to get details of the incident were rebuffed by the soldiers, who threatened our correspondent and ordered him to leave the area.
One of the soldiers said, “Nobody invited the media, please go; we did not call The Punch or any other newspaper. We don’t want media coverage. You can go; if we need you, we will call you. If you do not leave this place, I will tell a soldier to skin you alive.”
However, one of the soldiers, Lateef, who introduced himself as a public relations officer of the 81 Division, requested our correspondent’s phone number to contact him whenever there was a need to involve the media.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Army Headquarters, Abuja, Col. Sagir Musa, was contacted to intervene, but while speaking with him, one of the soldiers ordered our correspondent to cut the line.
Afterwards, the soldier said, “I have warned you, leave this place or I will order a soldier to skin you alive.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the NNPC officials told our correspondent that they were at the scene to repair the ruptured pipeline, but could not do so.
“We were called around 9am and we have not got to the point of rupture, because the soldiers said we should wait for their FOC,” the source said.
When our correspondent contacted the spokesperson for the 81 Division, Kevin Adegoke, he promised to inquire about the incident and get back to our correspondent, but he had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
Source: The Punch