The suspects with Ibrahim at the centre
Fifteen-year-old Sani Musa on Thursday shocked onlookers during a parade by policemen attached to the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, when he confessed that he had travelled to Lagos from Jos for the sole purpose of engaging in pipeline vandalism.
Musa was arrested alongside three others -Chibuzor Okorie, Musa Adamu and Aminu Suleiman- with a truck as well as 200 kegs of 50 litres of diesel, which was allegedly siphoned from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline in the Sagamu area of Ogun State.
The teenage suspect told PUNCH Metro that it was his quest for a better life that got him into the business of pipeline vandalism.
He said due to the poverty in his family as well as the unrest in Jos, his father advised him to travel to Lagos where he would easily make money.
Sani said, “My family could barely feed and there was no money for my education. My father advised me when I was 14 that I was old enough to travel down to Lagos and make money for the family.
“He called one of my relatives, Alhaji Sherrif, who is a businessman in Lagos that he wanted him to show me the way and Alhaji told me about the business (pipeline vandalism).
“As soon as I arrived, Alhaji Sheriff said I should join him as a conductor in his business. He buys and sells diesel and other products to drivers and most of them are got from our suppliers at Sagamu.
“He told me the implication of the business and the danger in case of arrest. He was the one that advised me to say that I am a student and had just arrived Lagos few weeks ago in case the police accosted me. My duty is just to serve as a conductor attached to one of his drivers.
“I never joined them when they went into the bush; all I did, was to stand by the roadside, watch out for security personnel and alert them. Our duty is strictly to carry the product and deliver it to Mile 12, where we have tanks. He pays me N2,000 per trip which is a lot of money.
“I am terribly sorry; it’s just that I promised to change the fortunes of my family. I am sorry, please forgive me and give me another chance to return back to school. I am still in primary four.”
Another suspect, Okorie, who claimed to be 44, told PUNCH Metro that he had contacts that monitored NNPC and alerted him whenever fuel was being pumped into the pipelines.
He said he usually sold adulterated diesel to suppliers at the cost of N4, 500 for 50 litres.
“At the end of the day it will be sold at N6,000 to retailers who are always on a standby because of the price at which it is sold. On a part time basis, we also work with a group of vandals who assists us in collecting fuel from pipelines,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Friday Ibadin, who is in charge of the task force, said the suspects were arrested on October 17, 2013 around Sagamu through the cooperation of the community.