|A 24-year-old tanker driver who diverted his employer’s loaded diesel and set the tanker ablaze on Abuja-Lokoja road is now telling the police what led him to the illegal deal.
Osas Uwagie, of Edo state origin and a tanker driver with a Lagos based oil and gas company regretted that bad company and poverty led him to sell off 33,000 litres of diesel belonging to his employers.
Osas was driving en-route to Abuja to supply the said diesel when he diverted the tanker to Okene in Kogi state, where he sold off 400 litres to one of his clients for N230,000 cash, and the remaining 32,600 litres he sold to a filling station in the same location for N1.5 million; the second buyer however, did not have cash to pay but promised payment into the driver’s account.
The Daily Times gathered that after selling off the content of the tanker, Osas and his accomplices drove the tanker along the Abuja-Lokoja road and set the tanker ablaze.
Information had it that when the company could not locate Osas, the matter was reported to the police at State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti in Yaba, Lagos where investigation was instantly launched into the matter, and the move paid off as Osas who had absconded was arrested in Kogi State.
In his confessional statement, Osas said he is from a very poor background, therefore could not go to school due to this 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 thought me how to drive a tanker and I was absorbed in the same company where he was working.
“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 content.
“On the day of the incident, I had loaded the tanker with 32,000 litres of diesel I was supposed to supply to a filling station in Abuja. I however saw it as an opportunity to perfect the plan I and my friend in prison 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 I was stopped by the police who asked me few questions I couldn’t answer properly. They became suspicious that I had diverted the tanker. I had to come out straight and told them the truth.
“I had bribe them with N200,000 to let me go, leaving me with only N30,000. I then contacted an old time friend called Kabiru to connect me to people who could buy all the goods. Kabiru sent one of his boys called Joseph Kola to take me to a filling station where I could get a buyer.
“On getting there, the filling station owner asked why I wanted to sell the diesel and I told him that the management of the company I work with had authorised 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.
“Kabiru 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.
“But 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 is 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 drainage so that it will look like the truck fell and the diesel poured out. It was them that opened the bonnet of the tanker, poured fuel on it and then sparked the battery head and fire engulfed the tanker.”
A company source who spoke to The Daily Times in confidence, said Osas has had worked with the company for more than two years and was even trained as a tanker driver by the company.
The source also said the tanker which was set ablaze had just been acquired by the organisation. “The total cost of the diesel and the truck is about N22 million,” the source said.
However, Osas has been charged to court.