BENIN CITY- Operatives of the Edo State Police Command have foiled attempt to steal N3.9 trillion worth of pipes meant for Okpella water project in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
The police also paraded eight suspected impostors arrested in connection with the botched crime.
The suspects are; Salisu Alhaji Umar, 38, Ibrahim Mohammed, 39, Yusuf Sambo, 30, Abubakar Dahiru, 43, Godwin Osifo, 51, Okoro Anthony, 44, Paul Moncha, 51, and Winner Okojie, 54.
The Public Relations Officer for Edo State Police Command SP Chidi Nwanbuzor disclosed this while briefing journalists in Benin City, last Tuesday.
SP Nwanbuzor stated that the suspects had approached high chief Richard A. David in Okpella with documents in which they claimed to have secured the approval from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), to evacuate the supposedly scrap-borehole equipment.
“The community people who were apprehensive disallowed the suspects to evacuate the items, therefore Godwin Osifo ‘M’, one of the suspects went to Okpella police station and reported the community people for refusing them to evacuate those items.
“During investigation, the police discovered the facts through the confession of one of the suspects Salisu Alhaji Umar ‘M’ (38years), a staff of Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Federal Secretariat Phase 1, FCT, Abuja who forged the Presidency approval for auctioneer documents for the operation”. SP Nwanbuzor stated.
Two soft copies of the alleged forged documents made available to The OBSERVER newspaper have The Presidency letter head with reference numbers SGF/GSO/VOL III/163 and SGF/GSO/VOL III/172 dated February 24, 2022 and March 31, 2022, respectively.
The documents titled ‘’Letter of Evacuation of Scrapped Pipes At Okpella Dump Site”, endorsed by Dr Maurice Nnamdi Mbaeri, Permanent Secretary, General Services Office (GSO), For the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), were addressed to the Executive Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki and the Okpella Traditional Council, just as the army, police, DSS and the NSCDC were copied.
“I am further directed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to write and inform you that MSSR Arect Engineering Limited has been authorised to evacuate the scrapped pipes at Okpella dump site.
“…in view of the above, therefore, you are kindly requested to accord all the necessary assistance and access that may be required to MSSR Arect Engineering Limited in the cause of evacuation of the said scrapped pipes.
“Please accept the warm regards of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation”. The alleged forged documents stated.
One of the suspects, Salisu Alhaji Umar narrated how he forged documents in Abuja office and handed them over to Ibrahim Mohammed after he was appreciated with N500,000.00.
Ibrahim Mohammed who claimed to be from Kaduna State confessed to have passed the forged papers to Paul Moncha who he alleged introduced the deal to him in Abuja.
“My name is Paul Nwocha, my company is into buying and selling of scrapped metal. I am surprised to here that the documents are fake”.
Other suspects narrated their level of involvement in the foiled.
The police spokesman ascribed the breakthrough to the strategic policing of the Commissioner of Police CP Abutu Yaro.
He however said that the suspects would soon appear in court.