Wednesday, June 19, 2013

“I can’t believe that I am heading back to jail” – Pipeline vandal arrested just weeks after release


An unrepentant criminal will be heading back to jail again just weeks after his release from the Ikoyi Prison in Lagos.

Bashiru Majiyagbe who was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for pipeline vandalism said he re-grouped with new gang members he had met while in prison the first time.

“Two men accosted me and I thought they were marketers and I stopped. It was when they slapped me that I realised that they were security operatives. I can’t believe that I am heading back for the prisons again. My plan was to raise some money and start my own business. I am finished,” he said.

“Please, Nigerians should help me to beg the police to give me another chance. There was no other way for me to survive but to go back to the same crime. I am very sorry.”

Majiyagbe continued:

“I was employed by NNPC to guard the pipeline in 2002. My records are there that my line was always protected because I never allowed vandals to go near the area. Vandals approached me to join them on several occasions but I refused because I wanted a clean record and hoped that I would be promoted.”

“But along the line, I discovered that NNPC officials were ingrates. They were in their offices wearing ties, while I was left in the bush to protect pipeline and I was given peanuts. We complained many times and were told that the contractor who employed us on behalf of the NNPC was the one that should be held responsible.”

“I decided to help myself to survive out there in the bush. Whenever they wanted to operate, I would pretend as if I never knew that they were there unless NNPC officials at the technical room discovered a drop and raised the alarm that vandals were in my area. I made a lot of money from them.”

“I was at our weekly meeting on September 14, 2008, when policemen came and arrested me. I was later told that there was a petition against me, alleging that I was into NNPC pipeline vandalism. I was remanded in prison and later sentenced to five years imprisonment.”

The Punch reports:
The suspect said it was in prison that he met other pipeline vandals and they became friends. He said the vandals formed a gang and because of his experience and connections, he soon became the leader of the gang.

He said, “I was shocked at the number of pipeline vandals in Ikoyi Prison. I joined the gang and since I had more information, I became the leader of the group. Those who were able to secure their bail ensured that our interests were protected in all their deals.

“They always paid our own share of the money into our account while we controlled deals outside there through our phones. The guys we have outside know the importance of keeping to the agreement before they left because one day, they will be arrested and brought to the prison.”

The suspect said he was released on May 16, 2013. He said policemen who had arrested some of his colleagues were able to get his telephone number and began to trace him.

He said on the day he was arrested, he was in a bush coordinating a pipeline vandalism operation.

Confirming the arrest, Friday Ibadin, who is in charge of the task force, said police got a tip-off that vandals were operating in Odi Ifediwo.

He said, “Policemen led by Sector Commander, Lagos, DSP Onaghise Osayande, cordoned off the area and in the process arrested Bashiru. They also recovered a DAF truck with registration number XJ359DKA and also discovered the spot where they planted three valves with hose of about 100metres. I was shocked to realise that Bashiru whom I arrested five years ago was free and back to the same crime.”

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