The robbers were also said to have abducted the vehicle’s escort, Shittu Oluwasegun.
It was learnt that the product was to be delivered to a filling station in Ore, Ondo State, before the tanker was hijacked in the Sagamu, Ogere, Ogun State end of the expressway.
The police said a man, identified simply as Lateef, from whom the tanker was hired to transport the fuel, allegedly connived with the robbers.
A Punch correspondent gathered that the owner of the product, Muyideen Adebayo, had sometime in September, rented the tanker for N170,000 through one Muyideen Abdulhameed and Tunde Adeleke, who reportedly presented themselves as managers.
The robbers, who were reportedly five in number, including Lateef, ambushed the tanker driver and the escort, Oluwasegun, around 7.30pm on the expressway.
They allegedly hijacked the tanker and whisked Oluwasegun away in a car.
“When we got to Ogere, Lateef stopped the driver and said he was the owner of the tanker. He left with the driver for about an hour before they came back.
“Immediately the driver and I entered the vehicle to continue our journey, a car waylaid us. One of the occupants pointed a gun at me, forced me into the car and drove off. Lateef was among them. They later dropped me off near a bush after collecting my mobile phone,” Oluwasegun told the police.
Punch Metro learnt that the case was reported at the Trinity Police Station and referred to the Special Ant-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, leading to the managers’ arrest.
One of the suspects, Adeleke, said, “I don’t know anything about the robbery. I am a truck driver. Muyideen (Abdulhameed) told me that he rented out tankers. Mr. Adebayo met with me and said he needed a tanker to transport fuel to Ore. I introduced him to Muyideen and they discussed. He paid N100,000 in advance.”
Abdulhameed, who is also a truck driver, said, “I don’t have any truck or tanker. The tanker in question is owned by Lateef and I rented it from him for that trip. When I was told that the tanker had been stolen, I immediately called him but he didn’t pick my calls. He later switched off his phone.
“I don’t know where he lives. We met at a prison in Ogun State.”
The two suspects were subsequently brought before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court by a police prosecutor, Inspector Benedict Aigbokhan, on three counts bordering on conspiracy and robbery.
The charges read in part, “That you, Muyideen Abdulhameed, Tunde Adeleke and others at large, on September 9, 2016, at about 7.30pm along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in the Ikeja Magisterial District, while armed with a gun and other weapons did kidnap one Shittu Oluwasegun, the escort in charge of a Daf tanker with number plate, AAA871XB, loaded with 33,000 litres of petrol, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 269 (1) and punishable under Section 269 (3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail by the presiding magistrate, Mrs. O. Olanipekun, in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties each in like sum.
The case was adjourned till November 17, 2016.