Hijackers hit tanker escort’s head with hammer, divert multi-million naira product


Operatives of Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested 12 suspects over an attempted murder of a tanker escort and the diversion of a 45,000 litre diesel laden truck and 410 bags of flour.

The incident happened on 1 February, 2017 when the truck with the registration number ENU 751 XH conveying 45,000 litres of diesel it loaded at Optima Depot, Koko, Warri in Delta State was hijacked after some suspects hit the truck pilot, Tunji Ajayi with hammer at the back of the head and threw him into a ditch.

The diversion was reported at the Rapid Response Squad’s Headquarters in Alausa, where it was reported that the officials declined to take up the case over jurisdiction. It was further revealed that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni on hearing of the incident directed that the police swing into action immediately, noting that crime has no jurisdiction.

The operatives, in handling the case spent 11 days shuttling Ondo, Ogun, Lagos and Edo States and picking up all the suspects allegedly involved in the diversion of the diesel and 410 bags of flour.

As at Sunday, the operatives had arrested 23 people directly involved in the attempted murder of Tunji Ajayi, the representative of Samsuat Petroleum, the diversion, buyers and sub – buyers of the products.

The complainant, Mrs. Nafisat Osinowo, in her statement at the RRS’s Office in Alausa, Ikeja, stated, “the diesel was meant to be delivered in Sango, Ogun State. Our representative escorting the truck called me when they got to Benin that the tyre of the truck was not good in the afternoon.

“He called again at 11:00 p.m. that the truck has been parked in Ore. It is our tradition not to travel at night. Our discussion was that they proceed on the journey at 5:00 a.m. the next day. That was the last time we spoke. Efforts to get him the following day proved abortive until few days later when we were called that he was in an intensive care unit at the hospital”.

Sources revealed that Gbenga Akinboyewa (33) and Obinna Ofunue (29) were recruited by a syndicate in connivance with the driver of the diesel truck, Amara (now at large) to eliminate Tunji Ajayi, the representative of the owner of the product.The trio had at Ore at night, engaged Ajayi, overpowered him before hitting him at the back of the head with a hammer. They were reported to have thereafter dropped his body in a ditch along the road before diverting the truck with the 45,000 diesel.

The syndicate, led by Chibueze Nnamdi, a building materials dealer in Ore, Ondo State, Edwin Ozor, Oluchukwu and one Shedrach, now at large, had raised N800, 000:00 to pay for the services of those engaged in the course of the diesel diversion.

According to Nnmadi, “I invited Akinboyewa into the deal. I briefed him and he in turn invited Ofunue. The instruction we gave them was to tie the hands and legs of the escort and hide him somewhere so that within an hour, we would have closed the deal before he was loose. I didn’t say they should kill him.

“Biggy (Ozor) and I raised N800, 000 to settle the boys, lodge them in a hotel, feed and take care of other emergencies in the course of the job. We promised Akinbiyewa N500, 000 for his own aspect of the job”.

He disclosed further, “when we were in control of the truck, we drove to Ijebu Ode, where we discharged 2,800 litres. We proceeded to Lagos, where we offloaded 19,200 in one station, 14,000 in another and 8,400 in the last filling station.

Those equally arrested in connection with the attempted murder and diesel diversions were: Sadiku Ganinu, Oluchukwu Oyema and Gbenga Aliyu.

Meanwhile, the operatives have also uncovered that the same syndicate had sometime last week facilitated the disposal off 410 bags of flour believed to belong to Dangote Flour.

Sources revealed that one of the suspects, whose name was not mentioned, disclosed to the police that the syndicate had a week ago, disposed a truck load of flour.

The revelation prompted further investigations by the operatives, which led the RRS team to Sagamu, Ogun State, where the buyer of the flour, Rabiu Bello was arrested.

Bello, a Colanut dealer, had in his statement stated that one Mustapha (at large) brought the flour deal to him, adding that, he bought each bag of the flour N8500.

He further stated that he in turn sold the flour in Zamfara at N9500 per bag.

Others involved in the flour deal and arrested by the operatives included: Chigozie Obi, Feranmi Michael and Adedeji Kehinde.

All the suspects have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti.