…Petitions Police Affairs Minister over death of two oil workers
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, are presently at daggers-drawn with the Police at Benin and Delta States following the mysterious death of two oil workers,Â Danjuma Bashir and Malabu Abubakar Ahmad, in a bush at Mosogar village, Delta State.
The decomposing dead bodies of the duo who were until their untimely death, employees of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, Benin, Edo State – a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, were found on march 20, 2010 after they reportedly had a disagreement with some Policemen at Mosogar check point in the morning of March 13, 2010.
An oil worker with the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of NNPC, who drove through Mosogar police check point told Crime Alert that he saw Malabu and Danjuma in a heated argument with the Police at the Mosogar police check point that fateful morning of March 13, 2010.
The worker who craved for anonymity, said he believed the incident may have contributed to the gruesome killings and dumping of their corpse at the Mosogar forest.Â Ironically, the Toyota Camry 2008 model belonging to Malabu in which the two deceased workers were traveling from Benin to Abraka is yet to be seen.
Why we suspect foul play?
Members of the association who spoke with Crime alert said they are hinging their suspicion on revelations by some of their members that telephones of the deceased oil workers were used on Monday, March 15, 2010 in Sapele area while one of the deceasedâ€™s (Malabu) ATM card was also used to withdraw N19,000.00 the same day.
Some members of the association are also alleging that the insistence by the Divisional Police Officer in-charge of the area that the victims should be buried without post mortem being carried out was suspicious.Â Worst still, people that arrived the scene of crime said they saw fresh pounded yam and egusi soup together with sachets of pure water beside the decomposing bodies of the workers signifying that some people were there before the bodies were discovered.
They also alleged that the Divisional Crime Officer in the area and his DPO made conflicting statements over when the corpses were found.Â According to the workers, the conflicting statements coupled with the fact that the Police did not alert either NPDC management or the families of the deceased aroused their curiosity over the circumstances that surrounded the death of their colleagues.
â€œThe withdrawal from Malabusâ€™ATM account on Monday, March 15, 2010 would not have been possible without enormous torture for disclosure of his pin number to the murderers. Secondly, though the post mortem showed that they were killed with bullets, it is puzzling that no traces of bullet pellets were found in their bodies revealing thatÂ the killers must have taken their time to butcher their heads and Danjumaâ€™s thigh to remove the bullet pellets.Â This act could not have been perpetrated by kidnappers or armed robbers but professionals, trying to cover their heinous act by concealing vital exhibits (bullets) whose source/type is traceableâ€, some of the workers stated.
On their part, PENGASSAN, stated in a petition signed by their General Secretary, Comrade Bayo Olowoshile, that available evidence points to the fact that the men and officers of Jesse Police station have a lot of explanations to give over the circumstances leading to the gruesome murder of the duo.
The association called on the Minister of Police Affairs to expeditiously and diligently cause thorough investigation into the activities of the Police in Benin and Delta routes, as well as their involvement in the matter.Â Â The petition which was also copied to Edo and Delta statesâ€™ governors, National Security Adviser, Ministers of Defence, Petroleum and Labour, Inspector-General of Police, among others,Â reads in part, â€œ The deceased were last seen alive by their families on Saturday, March 13, 2010 before their decomposing bodies were found on March 20, 2010 in a bush at Mosogar village, Delta State.
The duo of Danjuma and Malabu left Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC) Etete Office, Benin in the morning of March 13, 2010 in Malabuâ€™s Toyota Camry car Reg. No. FA 592 LND; Eng. No.: 2AZ8788765; VIN/Chassis No. 4T1BE46K57U132552; Original Factory Colour: Gold to Delta State University, Abraka where there were undergoing post-graduate programmes in Energy and Petroleum Economics.Â According to reports by some of their colleagues, who attend same program at the Delta State University, Abraka, these two persons never arrived Abraka for the program on the said day and neither did they return to their homes as calls from their wives later in the evening indicated.
On the 14th day of March 2010, subsequent search that was conducted between Benin and Abraka did not yield any result neither did the report to all Police Stations and Hospitals along the Benin – Abraka route reveal any incident of kidnap, accident or armed robbery.Â Consequently, letters dated Sunday, March 14, 2010 and signed by NPDCâ€™s Manager, Human Resources, Chief C. N. Chibo, reporting the incident of the missing senior employees were dispatched to the Commissioners of Police, Edo and Delta States, Director of State Security Services (SSS) in Edo and Delta States.
â€œOur members accompanied by two (2) mobile policemen embarked on further search on Monday, March 15, 2010 checking police stations along the Benin- Abraka route through Sapele. They checked police stations at Ologbo, Koko, Oghara, Mosogar, Jesse, Amukpe, Sapele, Igun, Aghalokpe, Okpara Water Side, Eku and Abraka to inquire whether there was any reported case of accident, kidnaping or armed robbery.
They also searched another possible route, Sakpomba-Abraka Road inquiring from all the police stations and hospitals along the route to no avail. On Friday, March 19, 2010, the protesting NPDC members were led by the President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Babatunde Ogun (who was in Benin-City for Trade Union Congress Delegatesâ€™ Conference) and the Group Chairman of NNPC PENGASSAN, Comrade F. O. Johnson to the Edo State Government House where they met the Deputy Governor, who assured that actions would be taken immediately to tackle the issue.
â€œOn Saturday, March 20, 2010, a call came through SSS to NPDC management from another search party effort led by NPDCâ€™s Manager, Quality, Health, Safety and Environment Department, Dr. R. O. Ewedemi that four corpses have been found in a forest in Mosogar.â€
According to PENGASSAN: â€œThe SSS also explained that the corpses are in cluster of twos and located some distances apart and that two of the corpses (male and female) which had been identified by their family have been taken for burial that day.Â Also, that the DPO Jesse Police Division was making frantic efforts to bury the remaining two corpses but the description of our missing members fitted into the remaining two corpses thus their request for the team to immediately proceed to identify the corpses. On arrival at the scene, the two corpses were identified as that of Danjuma and Malabu.â€
State of corpses at crime scene
Describing the corpses of the dead oil workers at the scene of the crime, the umbrella body for senior oil workers in the nationâ€™s petroleum industry, said: â€œMalabuâ€™s corpse â€“ body seriously decomposed, large worms coming out, a pin hole on his right foot, small portion of the neck remaining, full head scattered into pieces and the skull broken into parts, private parts, legs and hand intact, his jean trousers and shirt intact, his flat slippers soaked with blood, no face, and the body lying face upward.
Danjumaâ€™s corpse â€“ body very seriously decomposed, large worms coming out, small portion of neck remaining, full head scattered into pieces and skull broken into parts, private parts, legs and hands intact but penis decomposed, jean trousers removed while shirt singlet and boxers (under pant) intact, his flat slippers soaked with blood, no face, the body lying face downward, wound on the right thigh which probably made it to decompose more than the rest of the body.
There was fresh pounded yam and egusi soup together with empty sachets of water around the corpses. Their identification was made possible by the confirmation of their families through phone call that the description of the clothes found on them was that which they wore on that fateful March 13, 2010 morning when they set out for Abraka.
â€œWhereas, the DPO of Jesse Police Division insisted that the two bodies be buried immediately because they were already smelling claiming that he had been in the forest where the bodies were discovered for three days running.Â It took the intervention of Zone 5 AC Medical and the Delta State Commissioner of Police for the corpses to be released on our membersâ€™ request for post mortem examination. Reports of the post mortem examination shows that Messrs Danjuma and Malabu were killed by bullet shots at a very close range with their heads pressed down and that the wound on Danjumaâ€™s right thigh was inflicted by bullet shot. Subsequently, the corpses were released to the families for burial at the Benin Cemeteryâ€.
The petition added that the â€œMinisterâ€™s attention shouldÂ is also be drawn to the un-abating nefarious activities of the Police at check points between Benin and Delta States where they had continued to extort, harass, apprehend and illegally detain innocent and unsuspecting citizens who ply these routes in questionable Police Stations.
The target of these uniformed men areÂ usually people in flashy cars as cases abound of other members in same NPDC who narrowly escaped being killed after such threats of death by these uniformed men but not without parting with large sums of money. The Honorable Minister is hereby invited to expeditiously and diligently cause thorough investigation into the activities of the Police in Benin and Delta route.