MALICIOUS DESTRUCTION OF TELECOMMUNICATION CABLES,8 min read
THE COMISSIONER OF POLICE,
LAGOS STATE POLICE COMMAND,
MALICIOUS DESTRUCTION OF TELECOMMUNICATION CABLES, FORCEFUL STEALING OF THE CABLES USING ARMED SOLDIERS OF OPERATION MESSA WITH VEHICLE MARK OP MESA SECTOR 3 005, REGISTRATION NUMBER NA 0002 9 BRIGADE.
I am Barrister Oreye Udo Livingstone, the Managing Director of Peace Global Satellite Communications Limited, a wired telephone operator licenced by Nigerian Communications Commission with National numbering range of 01-2300000 – 01-2309999. Peace Global got a loan of N178,000,000:00, to supplement the rolling out of wired telephone in Omole Phases I & II and its environs between 2004 and 2006. Thunderstorm damaged our telephone Switch in 2006. WEMA Insurance Brokers Limited failed or neglected to process our insurance claim leading to our suing WEMA Bank PLC along with the Insurance brokers and insurance companies vide suit No.ID/199/2009 which is now on appeal vide Court of Appeal No. I406/2016.
2. The properties of the Managing Director, Barrister Oreye Udo Livingstone where he lives with his family, land and other properties of Peace Hotels Limited, Peace Global’s properties were all sold to Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria by WEMA bank PLC because of Peace Global’s inability to pay the loan used in buying the cables which made us to join AMCON as a party to the above mentioned case.
3. Because of the copper content of the cables, copper/copper/scrap dealers sponsored people to vandalise our Telecommunication cables and bring it to them to buy. All our overhead or aerial cables were vandalised in Omole Phase 1I by the Officials of Omole Phase II CDA in respect of which one Mr. Abiodun Ayanuga is on the run and the case is being investigated at Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti.
4. On 02-07-16 at about 2pm, I received a call that some unknown persons were cutting the underground cable bought by Peace Global from Nexans Kablemetal Nigeria PLC and installed by Peace Global since 2004. My workers explained to the copper/scrap dealers that the cables belong to Peace Global and not NITEL. The copper/scrap dealers forcefully broke into our underground joint box, cut our 1200 petrol jelly filled cables at several joints. The copper/scrap dealers instigated a soldier in the above-mentioned operation MESA team to slap one of my workers and my worker was beaten up by the soldier in the public. The copper/scrap dealers boasted that they were going to uproot the cables up to our telephone exchange at Plot 171 Obadina Street, Omole Phase I whereas the documents they were holding never sold Peace Global’s properties to them and NITEL has never had any telephone exchange in Omole Phase 1. The truth is that the copper/scrap dealers are thieves/robbers who try to give official colouration to what they are doing. We are saying this because if they were genuine buyers of NITEL cable, on being told that the cables that they were cutting were not NITEL cables, they should have stopped, to get clearance from whosoever sold to them. Instead of suspending action, the copper/scrap dealers moved from one joint box to the other vandalising our cables and putting the cables in big trucks one of which has vehicle registration number FST-943XK.
5. The copper/scrap dealers and their labourers along with the said big trucks and army vehicle moved from one JB to the other pulling out our underground cables and carrying them away in the said truck, while one of them later known to be Mr. Jimoh Adebayo followed the Police woman sent from Ojodu Police Station just to engage the attention of Ojodu Police while his cohorts continued cutting and carrying Peace Global’s underground cable under the escort of the said Army vehicle. When I drew the attention of the Crime Officer in Ojodu Police Station to the report that the copper/scrap dealers were still cutting and removing our cables even as we were in the station, the Crime Officer asked the leader of the copper/scrap dealers to phone his men to stop cutting the cables and bring the already cut cables to Ojodu Police Station which was done. One of the copper/scrap dealers later known to be Mr. Judge called someone on the phone and gave the phone to the Crime Officer who thereupon told us that the matter was above her and she allowed the cables and the vehicles to be taken away by the copper/scrap dealers after she had written the names of about 5 of them, their phone numbers and their address. It took spirited efforts on my part before the Crime Officer called three out of the copper/scrap dealers asking them to come on Monday by 3pm. She asked the copper/scrap dealers not to do anything to the cables yet but did not ask them to bring the cables back to the Police Station. The papers produced by the copper/scrap dealers should have been thoroughly investigated and their nexus or linkage to the present cables established before releasing the cables to the copper/scrap dealers.
6. The law is buyer beware hence the copper/scrap dealers should have come with officials of those who sold so that they will be shown what they bought. The fact that they came on a non -working day to vandalise another network operator’s cable and steal same without any official of the company who they alleged sold to them, shows a clear intention to steal by force which is robbery. The copper/scrap dealers’ saying that they will come and pull the cables in our exchange whereas NITEL never had an exchange in Omole shows intention to rob.
7. At this juncture, it is relevant to say that someone approached me not long ago requesting to buy our cables and I told the person that our cables were not for sale. It is possible that because I said no to the offer to buy, they went and organised the papers they are holding to rob us of the cables.
8. The truth is that the damage the copper/scrap dealers deliberately and maliciously did to my cable network cannot be repaired because Kable Metal is not more producing petrol jelly filled cables and no company is producing the cables in Nigeria presently. These are the people who have been sending thieves to vandalise our cables and bring to them to buy the stolen cables, burn the cables to extract the copper contents to use in the production of other things and not telecommunications. It is because the thieves sent by these people have finished stealing all our overhead cables that they now decided to steal the underground cables in the broad day light using fictitious documents to deceive and hijacking apparatus of government officials to protect their diabolical design to rob.
9. In any event, since the copper/scrap dealers decided to use force to cut and remove the cables, in spite of being warned, they must be charged to court for malicious destruction of Peace Global’s property, vandalism of telecommunication cables and robbery of the cables, so that justice will take its course. The copper/scrap dealers cannot come to remove cables with about 20 men, without official of the vendor company, on a non-working day and they continue to cut and load the underground cables into their lorries after being warned that the cables belong to another network operator and carry the cables away. The fact that one of the copper/scrap dealers said that they were coming to pull the cables in our exchange shows that the cable dealers are thieves who decided to hijack operation MESA soldiers to rob Peace Global of cables we took loan to buy and for which our properties are being held by AMCON.
10. The vandalism has destroyed our telephone network and the perpetrators should be prosecuted because they did what they did deliberately and using bogus documents to cover up their intent to steal/rob.
11. Is it possible for someone to buy cables he has not seen? Our cable ducts joint boxes were welded hence nobody could have opened the joint boxes of the cables for them to see before buying. These receivers of stolen copper cables in the past who have now come out because they have no copper to buy and sell anymore should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.
12. The documents being bandied about by the bandits or copper/scrap dealers may well be documents used for the purchase of some cables somewhere else in Lagos but the copper/scrap dealers know very well that nobody showed them Peace Global’s underground cables as being mentioned in the documents. The fact that they did not come with the vendor’s representative show that the copper/scrap dealers knew that the documents that they are carrying had nothing to do with the cables they want to carry by hook or crook. Simple process of buying is that a seller shows a buyer what the seller wants to sell. Question is who is the seller that showed the copper/scrap dealers that our cables are for sale? No vendor pointed our cables to the copper/scrap dealers that the cables are for sale. What the copper/scrap dealers claimed is that only NITEL could have bought such cables. The copper/scrap dealers know that the cable is not for NITEL hence they still went ahead to keep on cutting the cables even as we were inside Ojodu Police Station already with some of the copper/scrap dealers. It is most unfortunate that the Crime Officer in Ojodu Police Station could not prevent the copper/scrap dealers from leaving Ojodu Police Station with the cables they vandalised and stole with brute force based on ”instruction from above” according to her.
13. Reports reaching me is that the copper/scrap dealers have vandalised all our underground cables moving from Ogba, down to Omole and down to Ojodu Berger. The cables were valued at N63,836,757.31 as at 2004. The current market value will be supplied subsequently.
14. We have been wired telephone operators in this neighbourhood since 2004 and we gave wired telephone lines to five Police Stations free of charge. Nigeria Police Stations Ogba, Alausa, Ojodu, Adigboluja and Isheri severally. We bought the underground cables in question from Nexans Kablemetal Nigeria PLC vide invoice no. 0077493 of 02/06/04, letter reference no. MW/US/SM.OA of 22/03/05, official receipt serial numbered 0072155 of 30/01/04, 0072154 of 300104, 0072159 of 30/01/04, 0072482 of 27/05/04,
photocopy of which is attached herewith. Photocopy of NCC licence No. PNL/LEX/013/03 granted to Peace Global by NCC is also attached. Photocopies of letter reference No. MWI/01/AG. 139/VOL.1/10 OF 19/01/04 and WMI/01/AG.139/VOL.1./31 OF 14/12/04 issued by Lagos State Ministry Of Works And Infrastructures to dig and construct the duct along Omole, Isheri and Ojodu roads, are also attached. Print out of pictures of some of the vehicles used during the operations and some people who participated in the operations are enclosed hearing for your necessary action, please.
15. In the light of the forgoing, we wish to request you to kindly order a thorough investigation into the background of all the copper/scrap dealers who the Crime Officer at the Ojodu Police Station took down their details, to know who they intend supplying the cables to and where has been their source of supply. The authenticity of any document stating that the whole underground cables in Lagos has been sold to the copper/scrap dealers should be thoroughly investigated because NITEL knows and every telephone operator including NCC knows that Peace Global has underground cables. If NITEL never claimed that it is the only company which laid underground cable, any buyer of NITEL cannot sell what NITEL did not have.
Thanks for your understanding and co-operation.
Barrister Oreye, U.L.
Copy: THE DIVISIONAL POLICE OFFICER,
OJODU POLICE STATION,