Tuesday, 27 January 2015

I wanted to complete my wife’s hospital bill – Oil bunkering Suspect laments

Four suspects are currently in the net of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Command, for allegedly engaging in illegal oil bunkering.It was learnt that the suspects – Jamiu Sittu, Bolaji Isila, Sola Ogunlade and Semiu Bello – were rounded up by the NSCDC men at about 10pm on January 16 around Eyita Sabo in the Ikorodu area of the state.Our correspondent learnt that the team
recovered 52 jerrycans, with each containing 50 litres of petrol, from two vehicles used by the suspects.It was further learnt that while 50 kegs were seized from Isila and Ogunlade, who were inside a space bus marked KRD63BM, two kegs hidden in a tyre compartment were recovered from another car with number plate AG 15 FKJ used by Shittu and Bello.Thirty-seven-year-old Shittu, who hails from Ogun State, told PUNCH Metro that he took to the act recently to get money to pay up the hospital bill of his wife who gave birth to a baby boy in July, 2014 through caesarean section.The commercial driver explained that N150,000 was charged for the surgery, but he could only pay N80,000.He said, “I started the business three months ago. I am a commercial driver, but I was not earning enough. I was actually pushed into it so that I could balance my wife’s hospital bill on time. We got married in October, 2013.”Isila, 47, said he resorted to the “business” because his mechanic work was not enough to take care of his family of three.He said, “I stopped my mechanic work due to lack of patronage and went into transport business. The challenges of bribing traffic officers prompted me to buy fuel from people who are into illegal bunkering because they sell at a cheaper rate.”Ogunlade, an indigene of Ekiti State, said joblessness forced him to eke out a living for himself and his family through illegal bunkering.“I have three children. I am a driver, but traffic officers had seized my vehicle. So I have nothing else to do,” he said.Forty-seven-year-old Bello told our correspondent that he had come to help Shittu repair his vehicle when he was apprehended.He said, “After repairing his vehicle, I asked him to give me a lift to Sabo. We had almost reached Sabo bus stop when NSCDC officers stopped us. I did not know the load inside the car contained petrol until the officer uncovered it.”The state commandant of the corps, Gabriel Abbafi, said his men swooped on the suspects following an intelligence report.Abbafi enjoined people to engage in lawful vocations rather than exploiting the country’s economy which was meant to benefit all.He said, “The suspects are guilty of the crime. Some of them have confessed. We are trying to get them to help us to nab the real kingpins.”

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