Detectives from the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have busted a six-man goods diversion syndicate alleged to have successfully diverted a consignment from Lagos ports and disposing them at giveaway prices in Imo state.
They were nabbed after the owner of a truck carrying a 40ft container containing 608 pieces of imported generators and 2,900 grinding gasoline engines worth over N9.7million could not trace the whereabouts of the driver. Those arrested are Onyebuchi Okeke 30, Sunday Chukwuwike 28, Onyebuchi Ede 30, Sopuluchukwu Eze 30, and Sunday Nwachukwu 35 while one Ozor is still at large.
Saturday Sun learnt that the police acted on a petition by a clearing agent, Nickson Budu on behalf of Sylveohemma Petroleum Ltd based in Apapa, Lagos alleging that on December 22, 2017, the company driver and motor boy had gone missing.
Days later, police detectives traced the suspects to Nkwerre in Imo State while they were still negotiating with the receiver of what was left in the container.
They all confessed to the crime except Ozor who is still at large. Meanwhile, about 120 of the stolen goods have been recovered while the remaining are still to be recovered from the gang member’s house in Nkwerre which was used as warehouse.
In his confession at the police station, the motor boy Chukwuwike said, “I am from Ihiala, Anambra State. It was the driver that brought the idea to divert the container and make fast money. On December 23, 2017, at Tin Can Island at about 8pm, we were asked by our contractors to take the container to Abuluchu in Festac area of Lagos but we diverted to Ikorodu.”
Confessing also, the driver Okeke said, “I brought the idea to divert the container. We later took it to Nkwerre in Imo State where the receiver collected part payment from buyers which was N430,000 and gave us. Four of us namely Onyebuchi, Sunday, the other Sunday and Ozor shared the money. I decided to sell the goods because they were not paying us very well. They used to make a lot of money and give us peanuts.”
On how they managed to drive down to the East without any disturbance from security men on the highway, Okeke said , “It when you argue with them that you have problem. We had forged receipts, which we presented and to stop them from cross-checking or calling the owner, we give them N3000. This was how we drove the truck from Ikorodu to Imo state.”
Yet another suspect, Ede said the only role he played was to provide his house as the warehouse where the goods were off loaded. “ I am from Nkanu, Enugu State. They promised to pay me N200,000. When I saw that there were enough goods in the container that would fetch me more money I decided to join the gang.”
Sopuluchukwu on the role he played said, “I am from Nkanu East, Enugu state. I used to do well in my business. I used to deal on men’s wears and I used to make N80,000 monthly but recession came and it affected my business. When my friend Nwachukwu called me and told me about the deal I jumped at it. I will blame the devil also.”
The buyer of the stolen goods, Eze said, “ They asked me to look for a safe place to off load the stolen goods. I called my brother Ede and he helped to provide his house because he has enough space in his house. Since I was also interested in buying the goods, I had to raise some money. We contributed money for advance payment. I gave them N210,000, Sopuluchukwu brought N250,000 plus the initial N100,000 I gave. The total money collected for part payment was N510,000.”