The Lagos State Police Command has arrested four teenagers for alleged involvement in oil theft and the abduction of two expatriates in the Epe and Igando area of the state.
Our correspondents learnt that the four suspects – Michael Loko, 19; Oluwatomi Obosi, 19; Francis Cyprian, 19; and Olatoye Semiu, 18 – were nabbed by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, on Tuesday.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspects were also alleged to be involved in pipeline vandalism in the Isawo, Ikorodu area of the state.
It was gathered that two expatriates had been allegedly abducted in the Epe and Igando areas of the state at different times in July, after which undisclosed ransoms were paid before their release.
A police source said, “The teenagers also assisted oil thieves to carry petrol siphoned from pipelines into the trucks for sale.”
The police added that Loko was the leader of the gang.
Speaking with PUNCH Metro, Loko, who confessed to the kidnappings, added that he collected N280,000 as his share from the ransom paid for the release of the expatriate in the Epe area.
He added that his elder brother, Amos Loko, and other accomplices brought the victim to their hideout in Isawo.
Loko said he and the three others also made N1,000 daily from helping pipeline vandals.
He said, “I was arrested in Epe. I was involved in the kidnapping of an expatriate. My elder brother, Amos, was the one who carried out the operation. My brother and other accomplices were later arrested.
“Although I do not know the total amount of money collected as ransom from the expatriate in Epe, I was given a share of N280,000 for my role in the operation. I was into illegal oil deals and also assist pipeline vandals to carry jerrycans of petrol from water to the shore. I earn N1,000 daily.”
Another suspected member of the gang, Cyprian, who worked as an apprentice bricklayer, said Loko (Michael) introduced him to illegal oil business in January 2016.
He said, “Michael and I went to the same secondary school. I was working as a bricklayer, but I decided to quit the job because I earned little money from it. The first day I got involved in carrying stolen petroleum, I earned N1,000.
“I was arrested when I visited a woman in the Ikorodu area, who I had saved some of the proceeds of the oil theft with. I wanted to collect N80,000 from her, but I landed in police net.”
Another teenager, Semiu, said, “I learnt tailoring, but after graduation, I was unable to rent a shop. I could not get money to purchase all my tools. So, I joined the gang.”
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the gang members, said the command would not tolerate acts of criminalities, adding that the public should always avail the police of credible information at all times.