Some policemen who struck a deal with a group of oil thieves have been apprehended in Lagos State.
The five policemen are now being discretely interrogated after the bubble burst.
More than N6 million has been traced to their bank accounts.
However, it is believed that the money is more than what has so far been discovered.
The men were picked up by the Officer-in-Charge of Anti-Vandalism, Assistant Commissioner of Police Friday Ibadin.
They were taken to Kamselem Police Command, Obalende, for further interrogation.
Although the men tried to deny the allegation, some of the suspected oil thieves they had been dealing with presented banks’ tellers used in lodging money into the accounts of the policemen.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Kenneth Nwosu, said it was outside his purview.
According to Nwosu, it was a case of Anti-Vandalism.
But Ibadin denied the report.
He said: “It is not true.
“No policeman was arrested over anything like that.
“Yes, I was at the command and as a policeman I can go to the command for other reasons.
“It was, however, not to arrest any policeman as you said.
“In fact, I went there to look for a policeman, but he was not even around.
“So I left.
“Somebody is feeding you lies.
“Believe me I’m not lying to you.”
But investigation showed that the policemen in questions are two inspectors, two sergeants and a corporal.
One of the sergeants was identified as Alaba Adegoke.
But the names of the other policemen are not known yet.
The arrested policemen are said to be among those in the command that drive the most expensive cars.
One of them is also alleged to be building two houses simultaneously.
Nobody knows how long they had been dealing in oil bunkering, but some of the bank tellers presented by the oil thieves showed that over N6 million had been paid into Adegoke’s account.
Once the vandals paid the money into Adegoke’s account, he in turn would share and disburse it to the other four.
The men had been having a tea party until their arrest.
It was also learnt that the five policemen started the illicit business after they arrested some suspected oil thieves, while they were on illegal duty at Ogijo area of Ikorodu in Lagos State.
The policemen recovered about 450 jerry-cans of 50 litres, filled with fuel, from the vandals.
They took the jerry-cans to Apapa Wharf area, where they sold them and pocketed the money.
They threatened the vandals with prison and later struck a deal with them.
A police source said: “They threatened the vandals with jail.
“They later reached an agreement with the vandals.
“They said they would not jail or arrest the vandals if they agree to be sharing whatever they made from oil bunkering with them at ratio 50:50.”
Apparently, the deal had been going on until their arrest.
They were tricked and lured into the police trap two weeks ago by the same vandals they had been dealing with.
According to another police source, Ibadin and his men arrested some vandals at Ogijo. The chairman of the vandals was furious over the arrest of some of his men and rushed to confront the police.
Fuming, the chairman reportedly railed at the policemen: “Why are you arresting us?
“Have we not been paying the police as agreed?”
It was a confrontation that quickly ignited Ibadin’s interest.
The chairman was arrested and after intense interrogation, he named the policemen.
The chairman believed that the money was being distributed to all the policemen, especially those in the anti-vandal section.
The chairman also said he believed Adegoke and his partners used to ‘settle’ Ibadin as the OC Anti-Vandal.
Determined to catch the policemen, Ibadin asked the chairman to call Adegoke.
In his presence, the chairman called Adegoke and told him about new deal with another set of oil thieves.
Without thinking twice, Adegoke rushed to meet the vandals at the agreed venue.
He walked into the waiting handcuffs of Ibadin and his men.
Adegoke was the first to be arrested.
Ibadin took him to the Police Command, where his colleagues were arrested.