â€¢ Business lucrative, says suspects
By Ifeanyi Okolie
TWO traders identified as Chidiebere Ozurumba and Chizoba Nwankwo whose stalls are located at the popular Ojo Alaba International market, in Ojo local government area of Lagos state respectively are currently telling detectives attached toÂ the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Fed. SARS) Adeniji Adele, Lagos, all their tricks in diverting cleared containers and selling the contents at give away prices.Â They were alleged to had recently conspired with some yet to be known person to hijack and diverted a 40ftÂ container load of 500 units of LG television sets valued atÂ N14 million.
The duo aged 30, admitted with impunity that stolen goods business is very lucrative and easy to dispose off.
PoliceÂ investigation has shown that the two traders have been in the business of stolen goods for sometime now until recently when the bubble bust.
They were alleged to had conspired to hijack the container, having held the driver hostage and surreptitiously diverted the container and its contents belonging to LG electronics to a warehouse located in Alaba international market preparatory for quick disposal.
The diverted container was reportedly cleared at the Tin Can Island Port and was on its way to theÂ warehouse of LG Electronics, located on Warehouse Road Apapa before the hijack.Â Moments after the hijack, the goods were allegedlyÂ sold to Mr. Chidiebere forÂ as low as N5 million naira.
Meanwhile, Chidiebere who trades mainly on generating sets was said to be finding it increasingly difficult to sell off the TV sets and so gave them away at a give price to his accomplices, Messrs Chizoba and one other person who is presently at large.
Crime Alert further scooped that, the owners of the goods, upon the discovery of a hijack immediately alerted the police who swung into action at the Alaba International market following a tip- off.Â Â It was in theÂ process that some of the television sets with serial numbers matching the missing ones wereÂ trailed to Chizobaâ€™s shop who during interrogation confessed that he bought them from Chidiebere.
The confessions and regret
Both confessed to the crime saying they were into stolen goods business because it is very lucrative.Â Suspect Chidiebere admitted that he would have made N1m profit at the end of the day hence he invested his money in it.
â€œI saw it as quick means of making money and have actually been making money from it.Â Â I knew they were stolen goods, but I was eager to recover from aÂ previous business I did, which was on generators.Â In that deal,Â Â I lost over N10mÂ because after I bought them the police swooped in and arrested me. They emptied my shops and they took away both the genuine and stolen goods I have.
Ever since then, I have been trying to recover my money. So, when they brought these goods for me to buy. I took it as an opportunity of recovering my lost money. The goods were sold to me at a price twice lower than the original market price.Â I quickly paid N5m because I donâ€™t want them to sell it to some one else.Â I had little problem selling the goods because I donâ€™t sell television sets.
This was why I contacted Messrs Chizoba and Marcus because they sell television sets in the market.Â Â I, in turn sold the goods to them at a price a bit lower form the prevailingÂ market price.
But the truth is that,Â they were aware that the goods were stolen.Â Â I think they were interested in the profit they will also make out of the goods that was why they accepted to buy them.Â But how the police got to find out is something I am yet to understand because the people that t sold the goods to me, promised never to let the cat out of the bag.Â I was so surprise whenÂ someÂ policemenÂ broughtÂ ChizobaÂ to my shopÂ and they got me arrested.â€
Continuing Chidiebere said, â€œI feel terrible getting myself into this situation.Â MyÂ life and family are all shattered. My brothers have been coming to get my bail but they have not has not been possible yet.â€
Reacting to the tell-tale of the suspects, theÂ Commissioner of PoliceÂ in_charge of the of the Fed. SAR Lagos, Mr. Jubril Adeniji, described theÂ business of stolen goods as criminal adding that the buyers are themselves more liable because according to him, â€œIf there is no ready market for these stolen goods criminals would be discouraged to go stealing.
It is because when they steal, somebody somewhere is waiting to clear the goods.â€Â He confirmed that the suspects would be arraigned before a court of law at the end of the investigations.