We were promised N700,000 each – Company drivers arrested for renting tankers to oil thieves.

Thirty-three-year-old Ibrahim Abba has just one regret; that he would never recover the N700,000 promised him by some oil bunkerers who had approached him to rent his company’s petrol tanker for a quick transportation of oil.

“It was supposed to be a quick business. They rent the tanker for a few days and I get N700,000. I really needed the money,” the Borno State indigene told our correspondent at the Department of Criminal Investigation of the Ogun State Police Command, Eleweran Abeokuta, where he is answering questions.

Abba works for a Maiduguri, Borno State-based fuel haulage company, Wololo Petroleum Company and drives the company’s 40,000 capacity tanker.

He said, “We load fuel from Apapa, Lagos and transport it to Maiduguri. But many drivers do some business with the tankers before they load for the journey home.

“When the men approached me at our Ogere park, I was encouraged by friends there to rent out the tanker. They told me there won’t be any problem as many of them do the same all the time.”

But the business which seemed simple to Abba would later turn upside down when he got news that the tanker he rented out had got burnt at the site of a pipeline vandalism where oil thieves had operated in Lagos.

He claimed he had no idea that the individuals he leased out the tankers to were oil thieves. He claimed they told him the tanker would be used to transport fuel from Apapa to Ogere area of Ogun State.

Asked how much deposit was made, Aba said he had not been paid at all.

“They promised to pay the N700,000 at once when they return the tanker,” he said.

But Abba, who had only worked for Wololo for eight months, was not the only tanker driver in trouble as a result of the deal.

Twenty three-year-old Abdulkadir Muhammed who drives a 60,000-capacity tanker for Amuski Investment, another Maiduguri-based fuel haulage company, also rented out his company’s tanker to the same oil thieves, which was also destroyed by fire.

Muhammed said he had worked with his company for 15 months.

As a result of ongoing investigations, the police would not name the site of the oil vandalism where the tankers were destroyed.

Both tankers are estimated to cost N20m.

“After we heard that our tankers had got burnt we both called our companies and lied that the tankers had been snatched, we told our offices in Maiduguri that the tankers were snatched by robbers,” Abba told Saturday PUNCH.

Abba and Muhammed were handed over to the police after an agent who works with Abba’s company in Lagos got wind of the development and phoned his boss.

The spokesperson for the Ogun State Police Command, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, said detectives are working to track down the oil thieves. According to him, investigation would also determine whether there was any truth to the claim by the suspects that they did not know that they were renting out the tankers to oil thieves.

“The arm of the law has caught up with them. We will take the necessary legal course. They will be charged to court as soon as our investigation is complete,” he said.


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