Monday, February 27, 2017 12:02 am
The police in Lagos on Sunday arrested 23 suspected persons, who allegedly hijacked a petroleum tanker laden with 45,000 litres of diesel and 410 bags of flour.
The suspects were said to have attempted to murder an escort attached to the tanker before they were arrested by men of the Rapid Response Squad.
The Deputy Police spokesman, ASP Famous Cole, who confirmed the arrest to newsmen in Lagos, said the same gang also diverted 410 bags of flour meant to be supplied to a customer.
According to Cole, the incident happened on Feb. 1, when the truck with the registration number, ENU 751 XH, conveying 45,000 litres of diesel was hijacked.
He said that the tanker loaded the product from Optima Depot, Koko, Warri in Delta, was hijacked by the suspects at Ore in Ondo State.
The spokesman said some of the suspects hit the truck pilot with hammer at the back of the head and threw him into a ditch at Ore.
Cole said that the diversion was reported at RRS’s Headquarters, Alausa in Ikeja, but the police declined to take up the case due to jurisdiction.
He said the Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, on hearing of the incident, directed that the police investigate the case, pointing out that crime has no jurisdiction.
“The operatives in handling the case visited Ondo, Ogun, Edo and Lagos states respectively for investigation, where the suspects were picked up.
“The operatives have arrested 23 people directly involved in the attempted murder of Tunji Ajayi, the representative of Samsuat Petroleum and the buyers of the products.
“The complainant, Mrs Nafisat Osinowo said the diesel was meant to be delivered in Sango, Ogun.
‘`She said their representative escorting the truck called her when they got to Benin that the tyre of the truck was not good in the afternoon.
“She said he called again at 11 p.m. that the truck has been parked in Ore. It is their tradition not to travel at night.
“Their discussion was that they proceed on the journey at 5a.m. the next day. That was the last time they spoke.
“She said efforts to get him the following day proved abortive until few days later when they called that he was in an intensive care unit at the hospital,” Cole said.
The image maker said two of the suspects were recruited by a syndicate in connivance with the driver of the diesel truck, now at large, to eliminate the escort.
“Some of the suspects had at Ore at night, engaged Ajayi, overpowered him before hitting him at the back of the head with a hammer.
“They thereafter dropped his body in a ditch along the road before diverting the truck with the 45,000 diesel,” Cole added.
He said that some of the suspects under interrogation, had confessed to the crime; they claimed they did not intend to kill the escort.
Cole said the suspect confessed that after taking control of the truck, they drove it to Ijebu Ode in Ogun, where they discharged 2,800 litres.
He further revealed that they also went to Lagos state to discharged 19,200 litres in one station, 14,000 in another and 8,400 in the last filling station.
Meanwhile, the operatives have also uncovered that the same syndicate had also facilitated the diversion of 410 bags of flour believed to belong to Dangote.
The spokesman said that one of the suspects confessed to the police that the syndicate had a week ago, disposed a truck load of flour.
“The revelation prompted further investigations by the operatives, which led them to Sagamu, Ogun, where the buyer of the flour was arrested.
“The buyer suspect confessed that one of his friends, now at large, brought the flour deal to him, claiming that he bought each bag of the flour N8,500 and re-sold each bag N9,500 in Zamfara.
“The suspects would be charged to court upon completion of investigation.All the suspects have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department,(SCID) Panti, for prosecution,” Cole said.