Police arrest four Air Force men for allegedly vandalising water pipes
The police in Lagos yesterday announced the arrest of four Air Force men and seven others for allegedly vandalising Lagos State Water Corporation iron pipes valued at about N25 million.
Air Crew Men (ACM) Akingbola Wole, Ugbong Abel, Alalifu George and Kumish Revelation attached to 055 NAF Camp, Victoria Island, were contracted by the water board’s employee, Olayiwole Oyedele, to provide security during the vandalism on Saturday morning.
Also arrested were the buyer, Okechukwu Alozie, Wale Lawal, Babatunde Samson, Ismaila Adejare, Iliasu Ibrahim and Ikechukwu Ezemba. It was gathered that Oyedele sold the irons to Alozie for N650,000 and had already collected N200,000 upfront.
The Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, confirmed the arrest while presenting the men and other suspects arrested in the last two weeks in the state.
Edgal said the suspects that wore military camouflage where arrested at Doyin bus stop, Orile area, where they allegedly vandalised the public utility, adding that one Clerk crane and Iveco G3 truck with Reg. no. MUS 772 XD were recovered from them.
According to Oyedele, he agreed to pay the soldiers N35,000 for their service, adding that Wole collected N20,000 as advance payment.He said: “I have been a civil servant with Lagos State government for over 22 years. I work with the water corporation. The irons are scraps that we abandoned after installing new ones. I was not supposed to carry them but the buyer (Alozie) contacted me that the one that was auctioned to him has finished and he wanted more.
“So, when we went to carry those ones where they were abandoned, hoodlums in the area refused. They did not demand money but they said we could not carry them. That was how I contacted one of my relatives and told him I needed some soldiers that would help scare the hoodlums away and also escort the pipes to China Town, where the buyer wanted them delivered.
But the soldiers claimed they never knew that Oyedele was stealing the irons, adding that they discovered it at the scene when they saw that the pipes were government property. Wole claimed he demanded to see a note instructing Oyedele to carry the pipes when they got to the scene, adding that he personally took the note to the police for confirmation.
“I did not know that he was stealing the pipes. When he called me, he said that he wanted escort to carry some pipes. I told my course mates that we were going for guard duty. When I saw the pipes, I told the man that they were government property and that we need to see a pass.”
There was however a mild drama at the parade ground after Ezemba started wailing insisting he knew nothing about the crime.
Ezemba, a lottery man, said he was only watching in amazement as policemen arrested the soldiers when he was roped in.
“I do not know anything about it. I was passing by when I saw policemen arresting soldiers. I was surprised because I did not know police could arrest military people. The next thing, they arrested me. My family members do not know I am here even. I am innocent.”
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