A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Police unmask suspected killers of NNPC staff

MD Abubakar, IG, Nigerian Police
M. D. Abubakar, Inspector General of Police

31 January 2014, Abuja – Sixteen months after he was declared missing and is believed to have been killed, detectives from the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have unmasked the suspected killers of Mr. Sylvester Emefiele, a member of staff of the Transformation Office of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Emefiele was reported to have left Lagos on September 23, 2012, following a call from his office asking him to report to Abuja on September 24, in order to process his visa to Hungary for a training programme. That became the last his family saw or knew of him.

The family having reported his disappearance to the police and after a fruitless frantic search, the police declared him missing. The police authorities soon commenced a discreet and comprehensive investigation into the case.

Subsequently, detectives from the FSARS led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, swung into action, and after painstakingly following some leads, the detectives tracked down one Olaniyi Banjo, a 20-year-old resident of Ilesa, Osun State, who bought the Blackberry phone of the deceased from one of the principal suspects, Akindele Taiwo.

Nine months after, the masterminds of the crime were nabbed on June 8, 2013. They include Timothy Abidemi Lekan alias Leksit (30), who hails from Osun State and 41-year old Akinlade Taiwo, a native of Modakeke in Ife East Local Government Area of Osun State.

The duo, in a release signed by the Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, were said to have made useful statements to the police in connection with the disappearance, robbery and killing of Emefiele.

To further confirm their complicity, the suspects equally led detectives to the scene of the crime – a bush close to the Iddo campus of the University of Abuja – where the abandoned and totally decomposed remains of the deceased were recovered.

A detailed forensic examination including DNA analysis has confirmed that the recovered remains were actually those of Emefiele, said the police. Other personal effects of the deceased, including cash, ATM cards, a laptop, Blackberry phones, cheque books, personal apparels, etc were also recovered.

Also arrested in connection with the case was a voodoo priest, Saidi Babatunde from Osun State, who was implicated by the suspects for preparing a talisman for them.

The police added that investigation showed that the late Emefiele, while en route from Lagos to Abuja, dropped at Giri in Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT at about 8 pm on September 23, where he unsuspectingly boarded a Nissan Sunny saloon car with registration number AG-956-KEF driven by Akinlade Taiwo, who picked his accomplice, Timothy Abidemi Lekan, on the way during which they jointly subdued their victim and led him to the bush where he was robbed.

According to the police, the suspects confirmed that they had earlier forced the deceased to disclose the Personal Identification Number (PIN) of all his ATM cards which enabled them to make an initial withdrawal of N186,000 from his Zenith Bank, First Bank and GTBank accounts at Gwagwalada.

On seeing that their victim still had an outstanding balance of over N800,000 in his accounts, the robbers decided to kill Emefiele altogether by binding his wrists with twine and hitting his chest with their talisman and other dangerous weapons until they were sure that their victim’s life had fizzled out, said the police.
Thereafter, they continued making illicit withdrawals from the victim’s accounts until they were apprehended by the police.

Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar, has commended the officers who investigated the case for their diligence, dedication and professionalism, assuring Nigerians that justice will take its course as the suspects had already been arraigned before a competent court of law.

The police boss has further called on the general public to be wary of the kind of vehicles they board to avoid falling victim to hoodlums.

The IG promised increased visibility by the police on the highways through intensive vehicular patrols especially at nights for the safety and security of road users.


– This Day

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