The Oyo State Police Command has arrested 10 suspects in connection with diversion of 410 new generating sets and 560 four-litre kegs of engine oil worth N40 million, belonging to the Federal Government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 10 suspects were among the 29 paraded by the police on Monday in Ibadan for various offences including rape, kidnapping and armed robbery.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Shina Olukolu, while briefing newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Ibadan, said that the generators and the engine oil were meant for an empowerment programme for the ex-militants trained in the Niger Delta by the Federal Government.
Olukolu, who said that the command had recorded tremendous achievements with the support of the public, explained that the police got the information about the suspects in connection with the diversion of the items on Aug. 22 at 11 am. and immediately swung into action.
The police boss said that the suspects specialised in hijacking and diverting trailers loaded with goods on the highway, heading for various destinations across the country.
“The suspects hijacked a Mack trailer loaded with new SUMEC generators at Akinyele area, on the Ibadan/Oyo expressway and diverted the goods worth N40 million to an unknown location.
“Sequel to the information, the SARS operatives swung into action and carried out discrete investigations which led to the arrest of the members of the criminal gang in their hideout in Oyo town.
“We were able to recover 410 brand new SUMEC generators, 560 gallons of four-litre engine oil, the trailer and a Toyota Camry car used for the robbery operation,” the police commissioner said.
He said that the suspects had confessed to the crime upon interrogation and explained in details their respective roles, adding that investigation was on to arrest other fleeing members of the gang.
In an interview with one of the suspects who was the trailer driver, he said that the trailer loaded the goods from Eric Moore area of Lagos, adding that they were to be taken to Port Harcourt.
The driver claimed that the trailer developed fault at Sagamu and that the goods were loaded to another trailer.
“When we got to Oyo, I called a friend of mine who said he would help me get a buyer and promised to give me N1 million pending the final sales of the goods.
“I did not know what came over me; it was the devil’s work and I’m regretting my action now,” he suspect said.
NAN reports that the police also paraded a receiver of 13 stolen motorcycles.
The CP said that the suspects specialised in receiving motorcycles from different armed robbery syndicates immediately they were snatched from their owners who were mostly commercial motorcyclists within Ibadan metropolis.
Olukolu restated the command’s commitment to combating crime and rid the state of criminal elements.
“We will sustain our aggressive approach in fighting crime and entrench the community policing strategy across the state with a view to reducing crime to the barest minimum,” he pledged.