Operatives of the RRS recently apprehended a truck driver and three other accomplices for allegedly diverting 600 bags of flour meant for delivery to their owners in Ibadan. Femi Ogbonnikan takes a look at the incident and obtains the confessions of those arrested by security agents
Nemesis has caught up with four suspects who diverted 600 bags of flour meant for delivery in Ibadan, Oyo State capital. The culprits who are currently in the protective custody of the operatives attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command are currently singing like canaries, confessing how they diverted the truck, conveying the 600 bags of flour to a location in Sagamu, Ogun State and subsequently, dismembering the truck for sale in pieces.
It was learnt that upon the report of the disappearance of the products at the command headquarters, Ikeja, the RRS operatives who swung into action with the deployment of tracking devices at their disposal effected the arrest of the driver, Garuba Lawal, who is the prime suspect, in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The suspect, Lawal, 36, from Kwara State, it was gathered, connived with three others now at large and diverted the 600 bags of flour to Sagamu, Ogun State.
The products, it was learnt, were disposed of to a buyer in Sagamu, while the prime suspect, Lawal, took the truck to Ilorin, Kwara State capital, where it was dismembered and sold in pieces to would-be buyers.
Lawal, who was employed by the company (name withheld), the same day to move the 600 bags of flour to a bakery in Ibadan, Oyo State, THISDAY gathered, was baited with N2 million by his accomplices to do their bidding.
The suspect, in his statement to the RRS operatives probing the matter, disclosed that after loading on Sunday, April 2, 2017, at the Nigeria Flour Mills in Apapa, a young man, whose name was later given as Ismaila, from Ibadan, Oyo State, approached him for a discussion, ostensibly, to divert the products to a location in Sagamu.
“He invited me close to my truck, just as I was about to drive it out off the loading bay. He asked me, how much I have made in money, since I have been driving the truck. But I replied and told him, that I just joined the haulage company.
He asked again, “have you ever seen big money in your life? I said no. He asked me again, “if you see N2 million, what would you do with it”? I answered him, that I would quit this truck driving job. Then, he told me that he would introduce me to a deal. That was how we started.”
Lawal continued, “while his two other colleagues were waiting in the Toyota Corrolla they brought, he took me to a corner and brought out a cowrie to swear an oath. He told me that I would have to swallow the cowrie as a sign of bond that anybody that divulge the secret between us would die instantly.”
I took the cowrie and swallowed it. Immediately I did that, I observed that whatever instruction he gave me, I was just obeying it without giving it a second thought.”
According to police sources at the RRS office, Alausa, Ikeja, Lawal, in company of the three accomplices, diverted the 600 bags of flour to Sagamu, instead of its scheduled destination, Ibadan, on a Sunday night and got to Sagamu at about 2:25 a.m. on Monday morning.
“We got to Sagamu, in the very early hours Monday morning and I couldn’t identify anywhere so much, because it was still dark and there was no light in the town. All along, they acted as escort for the truck to Sagamu. One of them was in the truck with me, because the motor boy didn’t follow us.”
The source added that at Sagamu, Lawal was informed that the head of the truck had to be removed because the height of the vehicle was high and to enable it enter the warehouse for the goods to be off-loaded on time.
“Instead, they fixed a new truck head on the utility vehicle and they gave the spare part seller N50,000. We agreed, that I should drive the truck head to Ilorin, Kwara State, in company of two other members of the team to sell it off.
“We got to Ilorin at about 7:15 a.m. on Monday morning. I took the two guys to where I live with my wife. We agreed and they promised to return with my share of the N2 million proceeds from the sale of the truck head, as soon as banks were opened. From the initial payment I received, they collected N15,000 for hotel accommodation from the N50,000:00 they gave me.
When I didn’t see them that very day on Monday and the following day, I agreed with a buyer to knock down the truck into pieces. The tyres, engine, radiator, chasis and others were sold for N450,000. After, we had dismembered it, the Rapid Response Squad, Lagos arrested me.”
Sources at the haulage firm disclosed, that they were yet to see the motor boy that followed Faryba on the said trip. This, they said, has fuelled the suspicion that the motor boy might have been killed by the gang to pave way for a seamless execution of their plans.
Lawal insisted that the motor boy didn’t follow them on the trip. But the police sources hinted that the motor boy’s phone has remained switched off since the incident occurred.
Investigation revealed that the gang that diverted the flour are the same gang which has been involved in several diversions of other products.
Arrested along with Lawal, were Jimoh Adeleye, Wasiu Azeez and Adeniran Jacob.
While confirming the development, the Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous Cole, said that there would be no hiding place for those who come to Lagos to perpetrate crimes, adding that the police would fish them out from their hidings.
All the four suspects, the Police image maker said, had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) of the Lagos State Police Command, Panti Street, Yaba, for further investigation into the matter and subsequent prosecution.