A suspected oil pipe vandal, Muritala Kareem, who was recently apprehended by the Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, Lagos, has claimed he took to criminal activity because of the lavish spending expected of him throughout Christmas.
Other suspects caught alongside Kareem in Konu area of Ikorodu, Lagos, are; Musiliru Ashiri, Ahmed Lamidi, Jelilat Olalekan and Elizabeth Folorunsho.
Kareem, 41, who lives in Awori village in Epe. He pointed out, “I was a pleased and happily married guy till the day I knew Jelilat (Olalekan). She came by my store one day with a proposal that she wants to introduce me to oil business.
“I told her that I was not interested in illegal product but she insisted that it was genuine and I joined her in the business. I was introduced to Florunso and one Taye, who sold 50 litres of Diesel for N4, 800.
“It was later that I discovered that I was buying illegal products. Initially I wanted to stop but because Christmas is fast approaching, I decided to do one more deal. It was while we were on our way out of Konu that the police on patrol arrested us.”
Asked how much the stolen products are sold, Kareem said 50-litre petrol sold for as low as N6, 000.
“If you go to a filling station, you will buy 50 litres for N7, 750. This explains why we have so many customers. We also sold to some petrol stations,” he said.
Kareem admitted that greed, made him to patronise vandals.
“I am so sorry, I only did it to raise more fund to enjoy Christmas. My children will be so disappointed in me. Please forgive me for the sake of my children,” he said.
Another suspect, Folorunsho, a 36-year-old widow, said it was the financial hardship that accompanied the death of her husband that pushed her to crime.
“I am quite aware that my suppliers are vandals but there is nothing I can do about it. It is better than to sell my body to men for money. I am so sorry and pray that government will help people like us to find an alternative source of livelihood,” she said.
Another female suspect, Olalekan, said she went into pipeline vandalism when she discovered that the stolen product belongs to government.
The police authorities said the suspects were arrested on December 5, 2012, by the taskforce operatives on patrol.
The policemen impounded one DAF truck with registration number XA813JND containing 100 gallons of 50 litres of petrol.