An arrested oil pipeline vandal, Komuko Ayekede, says he sells stolen petrol at N48 per litre to Nigerians. But should he still be punished for making life a little easier for the people?
As a ‘good’ man, he begged the police to release him and the other four suspects – Oluwafemi Bamidele, James Awolowo, Eugene Stanley and Kunle Ogushe – in the spirit of Easter…
The suspect, who was arrested by the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit on Sunday, added that he had numerous customers including filling stations, due to his attractive price.
“We thought that on a day like Easter, security operatives would go and rest with their families. Please forgive us at least for the sake of Christ that rose from the dead because of you and me,” he said.
Narrating how he joined the illegitimate business, Ayekede, 52, said he was involved in sand dredging but joined other vandals when he couldn’t make ends meet.
He said, “I was engaged in sand dredging. Some years ago when my business was not moving well, my friend, Ebi, advised me to join him in pipeline vandalism. Initially, I said no because I was a hardworking person, but when it dawned on me that this was the only source of living, I joined Ebi.
“We were using kegs but because of the level of the water, we introduced the use of sack which contains a larger quantity. The sack can contain as much as 125 litres of fuel or diesel. Normally we move about 270 bags per trip.
“When we get to the pipe, we will open it and use our own valve to block it immediately. You then run it through the hose to the water where the bags and my boys are waiting.
On how they sell the products, Ayekede said there were always buyers at Apapa to collect the product at N6000 for 125 litres.
He said, “Selling the product is not a problem. There are so many of them at Apapa. The main job is to collect the product and successfully cross the river especially through FESTAC canal. This is why we normally work at midnight.”
Stanley, another suspect, claimed he was an aspiring footballer based in Bayelsa but was pushed to crime because he needed money to bribe scouts who would help him get a good offer in