Akpan was the guard manning the cables. But the police said he had become a lieutenant for Kingsley, leading the gang in his absence.
According to Akpan, he was the one who arrested Kingsley and handed him over to the police when he stole cables in the company he worked for.
He said, “When I handed him over the police, he was convicted and sent to prison. When he came back from Kirikiri Prison, he came to see me. He asked if he could come back for more stealing and he convinced me to join him.
“By this time, the company had disengaged me. Out of the four years I worked for them, they only paid me for four months. They said thieves were still stealing their cables. Because of this, they laid me off.
“I then colluded with Kingsely. I offered to provide him with security anytime he broke into the manholes on Third Mainland Bridge median to steal cables.
“We normally operate late in the night. I do the surveillance while he cut the cable and roll it out. Once the deed is done, and he is out. I collect my money and walk away from the scene.
“For the first operation, Kingsley paid me N40,000. For the second, I got N15,000. The third, N20,000 and so on. I don’t know the length of cables he stole.”
The RRS said Kingsley is now on the run.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that two sledge hammers used for breaking into manholes and a vehicle used to convey stolen goods were recovered.
Akpan and five other members of the gang were arrested in the wee hours of Friday when men of the Decoy Team of Rapid Response Squad ambushed them on the Third Mainland Bridge.
The suspects are Sunday Joseph, Obinna Nnabuenyi, Henry Owuama, John Chinedu and Francis Fidelis.
Also arrested were two regular buyers of the stolen cables- Sunday Francis and Simeon Ezeh.
The police recovered a 168-meter cable the gang had stolen from the Third Mainland Bridge the week before the arrest.
During investigation, the police recovered some cables from a 57-year-old cable dealer in Alaba International, Ojo, Lagos.
He said he bought the cables for N110,000.
The Lagos Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal, has called for increased surveillance of utility cables. He said operatives should look out for thieves who steal such cables and arrest them for immediate prosecution.
The suspects along with exhibits recovered from them have been transferred to the SCID for further investigation, Saturday PUNCH learnt.
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