By Joseph Undu
LAGOS—Operatives of the State Intelligence Bureau, SIB, Lagos State Police Command, have arrested a 32-year-old man, Eric Effiong, for allegedly absconding with a school bus belonging to Peak Lane International School, Oremeji, Akute, a suburb of Lagos.
Effiong, a father of two, before he absconded with the school bus worth over N3.6 million, had worked with them for six years.
According to a police source at the command headquarters, the suspect was arrested following a petition to the Commissioner of Police, CP Fatai Owoseni, by the proprietress of the school.
The source said: “On March 27, the proprietress of Peak Lane International School, Oremiji Close, Oremiji Estate, Alagbole Akute, reported that on March 7, a driver with the school, Eric Effiong, absconded with one of the buses with number plates SMK 123 EM.”
The suspect, who relocated from his known address and switched off his phone, was finally arrested by SIB operatives, who tracked him down in Calabar, Cross State.
Before his arrest, Effiong had already changed the number plate of the bus, re-branded it with Cross Lines Transportation Company colours and was operating Calabar-Uyo routes.
The Commissioner of Police has directed that he be charged to court for prosecution.
I was broke—Suspect
Speaking to Vanguard, Effiong said: “I was arrested for stealing a school bus. I was going to drop a passenger when they came down from a taxi and told me I was under arrest. I really feel bad that this thing happened to me. I just pray my boss would forgive me.
“While on official duty earlier this year, I hit a child of about one year and broke his leg. I spent over N200,000 to treat the baby.
“When I ran out of cash I began to sell my items to raise money. In the cause of that, my rent expired and my salary was N54,000. Because the school doesn’t give loan, I became frustrated. I did not know what to do and decided to abscond with the bus.
“When I got home with the bus, my parents asked how I came about it. I did not tell them anything.
“The bus was already white. I only branded it with Cross Lines Transportation Company because of the police on the road. It is safer operating under a brand name because it shields one from unnecessary arrests and harassments by security agents.
“I did that without the knowledge of the company. Since I was not operating in their park, it was difficult for them to suspect me. Apart from that, I only used it for one week because the front tyres were not good.
“It is not true that I switched off my phone. Only one of my colleagues called me the first day this thing happened. He asked me where I was. We did not discuss anything.”