For 24-year-old Osas Uwagie, an indigene of Edo State and a tanker driver, nothing more explains why he diverted a tanker loaded with 33 thousand litres of diesel than bad company.
Osas who was said to have been recruited by a Lagos-based oil and gas firm (name withheld) was en-route Abuja to supply the said products.
He, however, diverted the tanker to Okene in Kogi State, where he sold 400 litres of diesel to one of his clients for N230,000 cash, and the remaining 32, 600 litres sold to a filling station in the same location for N1.5 million which he was promised payment later.
Crime Guard gathered that after selling off the contents of the tanker, Osas and his accomplices drove the tanker along the Abuja-Lokoja Road and set the tanker ablaze. It was learned that when the company could not locate Osas, the matter was reported to the police at State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba where investigations commenced into the matter. Subsequently, it paid off, as Osas who had absconded was arrested in Kogi State.
‘I bribed policemen with N200,000 to let me go’
Narrating his own side of the story, Osas said, “I am from a very poor background. I could not go to school due to financial constraint. When I grew up, I had to find something to take care of myself.
I met a friend who was a tanker driver and I started following him. He taught me how to drive tanker and I was absorbed in the same company where he works. “My friend is currently in prison for also diverting a tanker.
He was the one who talked me into diverting the tanker as well as selling off the contents. On the day of the incident, I had loaded the tanker with 32,000 litres of diesel which I was supposed to supply to a filling station in Abuja.
I, however, saw it as an opportunity to perfect the plan my friend in prison and I, had. “I drove to Okene in Kogi State, , stopped at a particular location there and sold off 400 litres for N230,000. While I was driving out from the spot, I was stopped by the police.
They asked me a few questions for which I couldn’t give appropriate answers. They then started suspecting that I had diverted the tanker. I came out straight and told them the truth. “I gave them N200,000 to let me go. Later, I contacted an old time friend called Kabiru to connect me to people who could buy all the products. Kabiru sent one of his boys called Joseph Kola to take me to a filling station where I could get a buyer.
When I got there, the owner of the filling station asked why I wanted to sell the diesel and I told him that the management of the company I work with had authorized me to do so. The man then told us he didn’t have money to pay.
So, I instantly called Kabiru who asked me to wait there, that he would send someone else to take me to another possible buyer. He sent one Oyeko who then took me to another filling station. We met with the owner and I told him I wanted to sell only 400 litres, but the man insisted I sell the 32,600 litres to him. I saw reasons with him and decided to do as he said.”
Setting the truck ablaze
Osas continued: “Surprisingly, after discharging the diesel, they told me there was no cash on ground and requested I leave my account number, that they would get back to me. I then asked them what would happen to the truck and they said it was best I set it ablaze and disappear.
They asked me to follow them as they drove in front of me. When we got to Abuja road, they asked me to park the truck close to a drainage, so that it would look like it fell and the diesel poured out.
They came out, opened the bonnet of the tanker, poured fuel on it and then sparked the battery head and fire engulfed the tanker.”
An anonymous source who spoke to Crime Guard intimated that Osas has worked with the company for more than two years and was even trained as a tanker driver by the company. The tanker which was set ablaze, the source added, had just been acquired by the organization. The source also put the total cost of the diesel and the truck at about N22 million.