By Monsur Olowoopejo
The Lagos State Government and Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp, NSCDC, yesterday disagreed over the mode of prosecuting suspected oil bunkerers in the state.
The argument arose following the arrest of one Nwevo, a suspected oil bunkerers who was apprehended in Ogba, Ikeja by the council security officials and handed over to the NSCDC for prosecution.
Nwevo, who claimed to be a food vendor, was arrested with 47 kegs of 50 litre petrol around Sunday Retail Market, Ogba. Nwevo upon interrogation admitted that he has been engaging in the illicit business for a while. He was arrested few months ago.
Executive Secretary, Ojodu Local Council Development Area, Mallam Ahmed Jaji, in a statement issued through the office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Habib Aruna, expressed his displeasure over the mode of prosecution of the suspect by NSCDC.
Jaji said; ‘’Since the arrest of the culprit and eventual handover to the NSCDC by the council, nothing has been heard after.”
He however demanded clarification on the mode of prosecuting suspected bunkerer from NSCDC, noting that the culprit now walk around freely, even as he threatens to reopen his shop.
Council boss gets threat message
The Executive Secretary said that the only thing he could recollect was that he was receiving some funny telephone calls threatening him to either reopen the shop of the culprit or regret his action.
In an SOS message to the Authorities of the NSDC, Jaji is requesting that the release and subsequent threats by the suspect be investigated so that the prospect could answer for the crimes committed
Responding, a top official of the NSCDC in an interview with Vanguard, lamented that citizens often expect that whenever a suspects is handed over to the Corps, he should be convicted immediately.
His words “I do not know what he is talking about. A suspect has his own rights. It is the court that decides if a suspect is guilty or not. It is not the function of NSCDC to determine such. Our duty is to prosecute.”
The NSCDC official noted that in certain instances, the suspects could be granted administrative bail when he has been held for 48 hours and the court was yet to fix date for trail.
According to him, “If he meets that bail condition, he would be released pending when the court with fix the date for trail. We cannot keep any suspect more than 48 hours.”