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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Commercial Motorcycle Rider Arrested For Stolen 45,000-litre Fuel

Operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have arrested an Abia-based commercial motorcycle rider, Nnana Okorie, for allegedly engaging in pipeline vandalism at Obawole, in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State. The 39-year-old father of two was reportedly caught with a 45,000-litre tanker laden with petrol around 2am on Monday.
PUNCH Metro learnt that men of the NSCDC Anti-Vandal unit, Lagos State command, swung into action after receiving a tip-off that some suspected vandals were carting away a fuel-laden tanker from the area.
On sighting the operatives, the driver of the tanker, identified simply as Ifeanyi, and an escort, reportedly took to their heels, while Okorie was apprehended.
The suspect, who was paraded on Wednesday at the NSCDC office in Ikeja, told our correspondent that he struck a relationship with Ifeanyi after he (Okorie) picked him as a passenger a few weeks ago.
Okorie said his pregnant wife died recently at a hospital while she was in labour and her corpse was deposited in a mortuary.
The native of Aba, Abia State, said he told Ifeanyi that he needed money to pay the hospital and mortuary bills and perform the burial of his late wife.
He said, “My wife died with pregnancy in January and I needed money to bury her. I had approached other people for help without any luck. I picked Ifeanyi as a passenger a few weeks ago and during our discussion, I told him my problem.
“He said he wanted to drive a tanker to Lagos and asked if I could join him. He promised to give me some money when we return. We came to Lagos last week around 11pm. I have never been to Lagos before. He parked the tanker somewhere and called a man he referred to as his boss on the telephone.”
Okorie said a few minutes later, the boss and an escort came to where the tanker was parked and took it away with Ifeanyi. He said he was asked to wait at a tea joint.
The suspect explained that the three men returned two hours later with the tanker filled with fuel, adding that he knew nothing about how they got the fuel.
“As soon as we wanted to leave with the fuel-laden tanker, some NSCDC officials in a van started trailing us. Ifeanyi quickly parked the truck and ran away. His boss and the escort also fled. I am a stranger in Lagos and did not know where to run to. That was how I was arrested,” he added.
The NSCDC Commandant in Lagos, Tajudeen Balogun, said the command had intensified efforts to eradicate pipeline vandalism and forestall attacks on critical infrastructure in the state.
He stated that two weeks before Okorie’s arrest, the corps intercepted two trucks with the number plates, USL 820 YA and XC 379 EXR loaded with 33,000-litre and 45,000-litre fuel respectively, adding that the suspects fled.
He said, “On March 19, we got an intelligence report that petroleum pipeline vandalism was ongoing in the Obawole area.
“Our anti-vandal team quickly swung into action and we arrested a tanker containing 45,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit and the suspect. We are on the trail of the fleeing suspects.
“The most dangerous aspect of pipeline vandalism is the disaster it causes if fire breaks out. Criminals should desist from the act in their own interest because the command is determined to fight vandalism and live up to its expectations.”

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