A navy officer and two others have been arrested by the police for allegedly stealing properties belonging to Niger Delta ex-militant warlord, High Chief Oweizide Government Ekpemupolo, alas Tompolo in Warri, Delta state.
The properties worth N3billion were part of Tompolo’s belongings confiscated by the Federal Government two years ago in the N119billion alleged conspiracy and conversion of funds belonging to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) case.
The properties which were under the guard of the naval personnel at the “Tompolo’s Yard” near the Chevron Clinic in Edjeba Community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State were being sold secretly by the suspects until police busted the crime.
BigPen Online gathered that the Police under the watch of CSP Kelvin Zuokumor of the “A” Division in Warri caught the suspects red handed while taking away some of the items in the yard including a transformer.
It was learnt that the suspects had brought in a driver of a Mercedez Benz Self-loader and his conductor to evacuate the items from the yard around 7:pm on Sunday July 22 when they were rounded up by the police following a tip off.
The suspects who were identified as Lance Corporal Usman Shaibu, Staff Sergeant P O Ekon and Sergeant L S Elijah had successfully loaded the items in the vehicle with registration number, (Edo) XE 763 BEN when the police swooped on them.
However, two of the naval men simply identified as Staff Sergeant P O Ekong and Sergeant L S Elijah escaped from police arrest leaving Lance Corporal Usman Shaibu with the two others civilians named as Okugbe Lucky, the truck driver and his conductor, Chime Chukwukto to their fates.
BigPen Online was told on Monday that the suspects were busted following an informant tip off to the younger brother of Ex-Niger Delta Freedom Fighter, Hon. George Ekpemupolo that items are being moved from the yard occasionally to unknown destination.
Confirming the incident, the former Warri South-West Council Chairman told one of our correspondent; “They arrived at about 6:45pm. I was called by somebody at Chevron Clinic saying he saw people entering Tompolo’s yard with self-loader and that I should come and confirm if we have sold the things in the yard. I immediately called the police and they were arrested already carrying the transformer away.
“The Naval Personnel, Lance Corporal was arrested with the driver and conductor of the Self-loader. The Navy officer pleaded that we take the matter easy with him but I insisted he should be arrested and taken to the Police Station for questioning and prosecution, the younger Ekpemupolo said.
Investigations shows that besides the transformer seen on the truck by the police already loaded to be taken away, some other items including another transformer is also missing in the yard.
A police source disclosed that during interrogation at the Charge Room at the Police Station, Lance Corporal Usman Shaibu who confessed to have committed the crime had named his fleeing colleagues, saying they were going to sell the stolen transformer at the rate of seven hundred thousand naira (N700,000).
Contacted, the Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Muhammad Mustafa confirmed the report saying, “the Naval Personnel is in our custody”.
He however said that investigation is ongoing on the incident, saying that the police was liaising with the Nigerian Navy on the matter but reiterated that the arrest is true. “Yes. It’s confirmed the arrest of a Naval Personnel. But he is in our custody”.
The Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta, Commodore, Ibrahim Dewu said the Navy was yet to confirm the incident and promised to get back to our correspondent but never did as at press time.
Commander Dewu said, “We are trying to get all the details. You have to exercise patience and let me get back to you Sir.”
Responding to text message sent to his mobile phone, he said, “We cannot comment until investigation is completed”.
Story by Julius Eras-Olabowu