Mrs. Olalekan was arrested alongside four others, Muritala Kareem, Musiliru Ashiri, Ahmed Lamidi, and Elizabeth Folorunsho by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit, Force Headquarters Annex, Lagos.
They were seized on December 5, by the operatives on patrol along Konu village in Ikorodu, a suburb of the state.
Mrs. Olalekan said: “I am a business-woman and no one will get an offer to make hundred percent gain that would not rush into such business. My only mistake was that I failed to investigate the source before venturing into the business.
“When I discovered that the fule is coming from the NNPC pipeline, I decided to continue since its government’s money. I am truly sorry, if I can be forgiven, I will not repeat it again.”
The policemen also impounded one DAF truck with registration number XA813JND containing 100 gallons of 50 litres of PMS.
The suspects were allegedly on their way to dispose of the stolen product when they were arrested.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Friday Ibadin, who is in charge of the Task Force, confirmed the arrest.
He said the Taskforce is determined to reduce vandals’ activities to the barest.
According to him, it was due to the rate at which vandals siphon petroleum products from Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines that informed his decision to double surveillance in target areas.
He said: “It was during our regular patrol on December 5, that we ran into these suspected vandals.
“We are determined with the help of the communities where these pipelines are buried to curb the activities of these vandals. Meanwhile, I wish to urge Nigerians to desist from patronising these vandals. Anyone caught buying the product would be regarded as an accomplice,” Ibadin said.
Kareem, 41, who lives in Awori village in Epe, Lagos said Mrs. Olalekan lured him into the business.
His words: “I have always been a happily married and contented man till the day I met Madam Olalekan. She came to my shop and told me she wanted to introduce me to the oil business. I told her I was not interested but she insisted that it was genuine. I was introduced to one Elizabeth and Taye, who sold 50 litres of Diesel for N4,800. It was later that I discovered that I was buying vandalised products.
“Initially I wanted to stop, but because Christmas season is approaching, I decided to do one more deal. It was while we were on our way out of Konu that we were arrested.
Kareem went on: “We sell 50 litres for as low as N6, 000. If you go to the regular petrol station, you will buy 50 litres as high as N7, 750. This explains why we have so many customers including individuals and petrol stations, ” Kareem said.
He said greed lured him into the business, adding: “I am so sorry, I only did it to raise money in order to enjoy Christmas. My children will be disappointed in me. Please forgive me for their sake.”
Mrs. Folorunsho, 36, an indigene of Owo in Ondo State, said she went into the business to fend for herself when her husband died.
She said: “I was a full time housewife before my husband died. After his demise, there was no one to take care of my children and I. I started carrying loads for people. It was during one of such errands, that I was introduced to the business by one of my customers. I am quite aware that my suppliers are vandals, but there was nothing I could do about it. It is better than to go into prostitution. I am so sorry and pray that government will provide people like us with an alternative source of living.”
Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba warned vandals to be weary of sabotaging government effort in giving account of its natural resolves.
– Nigerian Eye