A driver of a bus conveying Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation workers has run into trouble after he woke up at his lover’s house on Assfood Street, Oriola, Alapere, Lagos and discovered that the staff bus, a N23m Toyota Hiace, had been stolen.
The police arrested the driver, Wasiu Aliyu, in connection with the theft on the ground that he parked the bus at an unsafe spot.
Aliyu, a casual worker, was arraigned on Monday on two counts of stealing in an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court.
PUNCH Metro gathered that a neighbour of the girlfriend had alerted the father of two children, around 4am that he saw some strange faces inside the bus. As Aliyu rushed out to know what was happening, the thieves reportedly zoomed off.
The 36-year-old indigene of Ilorin, Kwara State, was said to have reported the alleged theft at the Alapere Police Station and informed a manager of Doset Civil Engineering, which owned the vehicle.
Aliyu told the police that he had been driving the bus for over three years, stating that he had no hand in the stealing.
“I was employed by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation as a casual worker sometime in 2014. At about 8pm on January 21, I went to my girlfriend’s house in Oriola to pass the night. A man came to wake me up around 4am that he saw some boys inside the bus.
“Before I got to where the bus was, they had left with it. It was a mistake that I parked the bus on the street because there is no security there.”
The manager, Osele Philips, in his statement, stated that a specific and safe garage was provided for the driver to park the vehicle, saying the company suspected a foul play.
“The 18-seater vehicle is owned by the firm, but used as the NNPC staff bus. On January 22, our driver attached to the staff bus called me at 7am and told me the staff bus had been stolen where he parked it to greet his sister after washing it.
“It was when I got to the police station that I knew the bus was stolen on January 22 at 4am and not January 21 as he earlier told me. The bus was stolen where he was not supposed to park it. With his action and the circumstances surrounding the theft of the vehicle, he is a prime suspect. The value of the vehicle is N23m.”
A police prosecutor, Inspector Benedict Aigbokhan, who brought Aliyu before the court, said he had allegedly committed an offence, which contravenes sections 285 (1) and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The charge read in part,
“That you, Wasiu Aliyu, and others at large, on January 22, 2017, at about 04.45am on Assfood Street, Oriola, Alapere, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did steal one Toyota Hiace bus with number plate, KSF 61 DD, valued at N23m, property of Doset Civil Engineering Limited, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 285 (1) and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”
He, however, pleaded not guilty and elected summary trial.
The presiding magistrate, Mrs. O.A. Akokhia, admitted him to bail in the sum of N1m with two sureties in like sum while the case was adjourned till April 18, 2017 for mention.