Security operatives on Tuesday arrested five suspects for allegedly stealing diesel at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.
The suspects were caught with nine 25-litre and one 50-litre jerrycans containing diesel.
The Volkswagen Golf with number plate, Abuja BV 464 RSH, allegedly used for the operation was also impounded.A leader of the Joint Monitoring Team of the National Assembly complex, Mr. Usman Labaran, told PUNCH Metro that the suspected thieves carried out the operation with the aid of an insider. He said one of the two workers in the complex involved in the crime was arrested, while the other escaped.
Labaran said, “We have a joint monitoring team that has been patrolling the National Assembly complex with the police. Today, I was at the Fire Service Station around 4.30am when they (the suspects) drove into the Assembly complex, claiming to be members of staff. I told security operatives not to take any action but allowed them (the suspects) to do what they planned before challenging them.”
The official further explained that he and other security men waited for the suspects for about 15 minutes, and challenged them as they were leaving.
“I threatened to damage the car if they did not stop. I called on people working with me; I called the police too. A Sergeant-at-Arms and a policeman chased one of them, who ran towards the bush, but they couldn’t apprehend him. He escaped. His name is Friday,” he added.
Labaran said the phones on the suspects were seized, while security operatives made calls to numbers the suspects called shortly before the operation, pretending to be one of the suspects in an attempt to lure them to the crime scene.
“I called one of them. I told him that we were not given the expected supply. He asked if we got 11 jerrycans, I said we got five. We waited for other suspects to arrive, but they did not come,” he said.
The Head of the National Assembly Task Force, Mr. Daniel Adem, said security had been beefed up on the National Assembly complex premises. He said it was the reason why the suspects were caught.
One of the suspects, Umar Abubakar, denied involvement in the crime.
He said, “This morning, I came to office earlier and I saw people by the first gate of the National Assembly annex. I went to where I used to keep my bag. I saw the place opened. I looked around and didn’t see anybody. I saw some jerrycans and I called Ibrahim (another suspect). He told me that he and Friday (the fleeing suspect) needed money. I challenged him for committing such crime and left him to take pap, until I was summoned.”
Another suspect, Ibrahim Shuaibu, who claimed to be a worker in the complex, said the crime had been committed before he got to work on Tuesday. He admitted that he worked with Friday, who was on the run.
He said Abubakar was aware of the crime, contrary to his earlier claim.
One of the suspects who drove the car, Umar Isa, said, “When we met the policemen at the gate, they asked us where we were going. We told them that we wanted to buy fuel at the filling station. That was about 5am.
“Malam Ibrahim (Shuaibu) had told my younger brother on Thursday that he had some diesel to sell at the National Assembly complex. So, on Friday, we came and he filled 11 jerrycans and we gave him money. Yesterday (Monday), he called us, saying he had more diesel to sell. That was why we came. Each of the jerrycans is N3,500. We gave him N37,000.”
The Divisional Police Officer, National Assembly Complex, CSP Nancy Ajaponna, said investigation was ongoing.
She said, “The National Assembly Complex is wide. As security agents, we are trying our best to keep this place safe and free from crime. One of the suspects is an insider. No crime succeeds without the aid of an insider. We are investigating the matter.”