A 27-year-old father of five, Smart Adeyemi, has told detectives attached to the Lagos State Police Command how he and his partners in crime caused the rupture of a pipeline of the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation at the Isheri-Olofin area of the metropolis, leading to Thursday’s explosion that killed three people.
According to the suspect, he came all the way from Balyesa State to participate in syphoning of fuel from the vandalised pipelines.
Adeyemi, who said that they were 10 men that embarked on the deadly mission, further confessed that his sole aim was to make quick money from the operation so as to take care of his wife, who had just put to bed.
The suspect, who spoke with our correspondent at the weekend, said: “It was because I needed money to take of my wife and new baby that I called Love my friend to assist me with some money.
“Love refused to assist me with the money, instead he asked me to come to Lagos and join him in oil bunkering business.
“I initially told him I wouldn’t be able to do it, but because of my wife, I had to go.
“I was desperate and I decided to join him.
“My role was to bring out gallons of fuel out of the creek and arrange them inside our operational bus.
“Love sent me N12,000 for my fare to Lagos.
“He also gave me directions on how to move from Balyesa to Ikorodu in Lagos, where I met him in a creek.
“We later moved to Idimu area of Lagos State, where the bunkering was taking place.
“When we got to Idimu, we slept in a shanti, close to the pipeline.
“We started operation on Wednesday night.
“It was only four of the gang leaders that went to siphon the fuel, including Love.
“Four of us were told to stay back in order to load the gallons into the bus.
“We also put some of the fuel in sacks.
“It was when I was receiving a phone call from my wife that the explosion occurred.
“My escape from the scene was nothing short of a miracle.
“I don’t even know what happened to those siphoning the fuel with us.
“I didn’t know where I was running to.
“I started wandering about in the creek until some policemen arrested me.
“I would have escaped but I didn’t know the terrain.
“I knew what I did was dangerous, but I had to do something to survive.
“I was formerly into timber business, but the income was poor, so I had to go into oil bunkering.
“The oil bunkering was actually supposed to be trial run, but the explosion ruined everything.”
Meanwhile, a Celestial Church of Christ Pastor, Prophet Clement Oni, and three others were also arrested in connection with the explosion.
Oni was said to be using his church as the storage house for stolen fuel.
Police found gallons of fuel buried within the church premises of the prophet.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, while confirming the arrest of the suspects, said they were apprehended by detectives from the state command.
Elkana added: “Three of the suspects were arrested at Ijora area with 14 sacks of fuel, while the pastor was also arrested in his hideout.
“Some of the recovered gallons of fuel were discovered buried in his church.
“The suspects would be charged to court after completion of investigation.
“We’re still hunting others at large.
“They will soon be arrested.”