26th September, 2012
Attempts by four suspected NITEL cable vandals to bribe the Divisional Police Officer, DPO in charge of Ikoyi Division, Lagos, southwest Nigeria, SP Aisha Haruna, with N110,000 to secure freedom after they were arrested with about 1,500 pieces of vandalised armoured NITEL cable valued at N5 million, has backfired as the quartet have landed in prison.
They were arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on a three-count charge of felony to wit, vandalism, stealing and offering gratification to the police to pervert justice.
The police alleged in charge No.J/44/2012 that the accused persons, Jemilu Adams, 28, Tope Olatunbosun, 24, Peter Musa a.k.a. Mopol, 23 and Chinedu Nwankwo, 29, were arrested at about 4:30 a.m along Kingsway Road by NNPC Mega Station, Ikoyi, inside a commuter bus popularly called Danfo with registration number LSD867XA. At the time of arrest by a patrol team led by Supol Peter Shettima, the vehicle was said to be filled with NITEL armoured cables.
When they were questioned on how they came about the cables, Peter, the alleged ring leader allegedly confessed that they vandalised them from NITEL installation in Ikoyi and that they were ferrying them to Marina Road, Apapa, Lagos for sale to an Alhaji, a receiver of their loots.
When they discovered their game was up, they allegedly offered Supol Shettima and his team N110,000 to let them off the hook with a promise to pay them another N200,000 after selling the items.
But the officer was said to have agreed to set them free, but told them that the DPO must be aware of their release for record purposes so that if they commit the same offence in the future they would not be spared.
They took them to the station and reported the matter to the DPO who ordered them detained and the bribe money registered as exhibits. He also ordered that they be charged to court after investigation.
In their confessional statement, Peter allegedly said that they have been vandalising NITEL cables in Lagos for years.
“We normally operate between 2 a.m and 4 a.m based on information, to vandalise NITEL cables in high brow area in Lagos such as Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Mainland, FESTAC Town and Ikeja and sell them to one Alhaji on Marine Road, Apapa, Lagos.
When the charges were read to them by the presiding magistrate, Mr. B. A. Sonuga, the accused persons pleaded not guilty and they were granted bail in the sum of N2 million each with two sureties in like sum who must show proof of tax payment to Lagos State government.
The matter has adjourned till 18 October, 2012.
All the accused were taken to Ikoyi Prison when they could not meet their bail conditions.