Bus conveying stolen fuel burn Ogun Businessman’s Vehicle
by Deji Lambo
There was pandemonium recently at the Oyekan Estate in the Ogijo area of Ogun State, when the bus that suspected oil thieves were using to convey stolen fuel ran into a Toyota Highlander in the area, burst into flames and consumed both vehicles.
The fuel being conveyed by the bus, PUNCH Metro gathered, was stolen from a vandalised Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline in Ayilara, Seidu community, Ogijo, in the Sagamu Local Government Area of the state.
While conveying the fuel, the oil thieves were said to have avoided passing through the Market Street, which is the regular route out of Ayilara, but went through Agbowa-Ogijo to link Oyekan Estate.
From the estate, it was learnt that they were to connect Pheonix Street and link the Sagamu/Ijebu Ode/Ore Expressway to avoid being arrested by policemen from the Ogijo Police Division.
When PUNCH Metro visited the estate, the charred carcasses of both vehicles were abandoned at the scene of the inferno.
The owner of the burnt Toyota Highlander SUV, Adeola Aboderin, said the vehicle ran into a pothole on his way home and he had to abandon it on the road when efforts to pull it out proved abortive.
The 37-year-old businessman stated, “Around 5.30am, my brother raised the alarm about the raging fire, and when I rushed out to find out what was happening, I saw my car and a commercial bus burning. The smoke being emitted by the burning vehicles was black; so, I Immediately went to the Ogijo Police Station to lodge a complaint, because my thought was that somebody had set my SUV ablaze.
“But when the Investigating Police Officer came to inspect the scene of the incident, my vehicle and the bus had already been burnt beyond repairs. After the inspection, the IPO told me that vandals were using the bus to convey fuel through the area when a mechanical fault caused a spark that razed both vehicles.
“The state Commissioner of Police is aware of this matter and the Divisional Police Officer, Ogijo, said the owner of the bus had been arrested. I used my sweat to purchase that vehicle and I want it back. I want the police to assist me to ensure that I am duly compensated.”
A resident of the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the activities of oil thieves and vandals had been sending shivers down the spines of residents of the community, adding that the owner of the burnt SUV had been stranded ever since the incident.
She said, “We no longer have peace in this community, because the vandals’ operations at night usually scare us. On many occasions, we heard the exchange of gunfire between the vandals and security agents. And we gathered that the exchange of gunfire usually occurs when the vandals refuse to settle the security agents during their operations.
“There was a particular time their activities led to a fire incident; there was another time when they abandoned the punctured NNPC pipeline after scooping fuel from it and this caused uncontrollable spillage that caused panic in the community.
“We want the government to come to our aid as the situation is beyond our control. They used buses to perpetrate the crime, but formerly, they were using trucks, but due to the bad roads and because it is the rainy season, they have switched to using buses so that they won’t get stuck.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent, said the owner of the bus had been arrested, adding that the case had been transferred to the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Eleweran, for further investigation.
Oyeyemi stated, “The truth of the matter is that the owner of the Highlander SUV was coming from work and a few metres to his house, his vehicle got stuck in the mud and he left it there with the hope of finding a solution to it the next day.
“While the vehicle was there, the vandals were coming in a commercial bus and their vehicle too got stuck at the spot and while they were trying to accelerate the vehicle, it caught fire and both the Highlander and the bus were razed.
“The owner of the bus has been arrested and the case is being investigated by the state Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Eleweran.”