Alleged Palliatives’ Theft: OYRTMA Reacts, Blames NSCDC for Uninvestigated Claims and Media Trial

The Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority (OYRTMA) has refuted the claim of theft by some men of the Authority paraded on Thursday by the Oyo State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

In a press statement made available to newsmen on Thursday by the Executive Chairman of OYRTMA, Mogaji (Dr.) Akin Fagbemi expressed shock over the unsubstantiated allegations that he said lacks due investigation and fortified with unprofessionalism and too much haste for media trial by the NSCDC whose Officers and men were saddled with the responsibility of protecting facilities of State.

In his words, “The Authority is utterly surprised at the news that our men were involved in the stealing of 70 bags of maize COVID-19 palliatives. This is not only false, it is unusual, highly derogatory and devoid of any modicum of professional investigation procedures.

“When our attention was drawn to the arrest of our men at about 2030hours of yesterday 24th March, 2021, I, alongside other top officials of the Authority visited the office of the NSCDC to ascertain the matter at hand. Unfortunately, we could not meet any of the high ranking officers concerned as those on duty claimed not to be authorized to talk on the matter. At this point, we could not access our men involved as their mobile phones and other means of communication had been taken away from them.

“As early as 0700hours of today 25th March 2021, we had begun preliminary investigations into the circumstances surrounding the arrests in conjunction with the Executive Assistance on Security to the Executive Governor of Oyo State, CP Sunday Odukoya Rtd. and top management officials of the Oyo State Printing Press whose vehicle was alleged to have been involved in the movement of some bags of maize at the time of the incident.”

“He gave their own findings as follow:

1. The items allegedly stolen were stored in a facility located at the OYRTMA premises but under the supervision of the Oyo State Emergency Management Agency (OYSEMA) and secured day and night by men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

2. Officials of the Oyo State Emergency Management Agency (OYSEMA) simply identified as Mr. Oladimeji and Mr. Pius led some government-owned trucks to the facility housing the items at about 1900hours of Wednesday, 24th March 2021 like they have been doing in the time past to move some of the items on the instructions of their superiors at OYSEMA in readiness for distribution to the people of the State.

3. Two (2) of our men in OYRTMA who were not on official duty were contacted by the OYSEMA officials to help in escorting the loaded vehicles out of the premises all in the glare of security operatives from the NSCDC saddled with the responsibility of protecting the facility and items therein.

4. The two OYRTMA officers were joined by a Mayor (ad-hoc traffic warden) identified as Oguntayo Kayode to escort the loaded vehicles.

5. The men were stopped for a stop and search check at the Secretariat gate at about 2030hours of 24th March 2021 and immediately the OYSEMA officials sighted the security agents, they took to their heels and absconded leaving the OYRTMA escort officers only to be arrested and detained at the NSCDC office on the allegation of theft of government properties.

6. At around 0800hours of 25th March 2021, the Executive Chairman of OYRTMA, Mogaji Akin Fagbemi and the Executive Assistance to the Governor, CP Sunday Odukoya together with Directors at the State Printing Press visited the scene of alleged theft only to establish that the facility was not burgled, broken-into or damaged in any way as the padlock was found intact and gate well shut.

7. As of this hour, almost 24hours since the incident, the NSCDC or any of their representative are yet to visit the facility where the items were allegedly stolen inside the State Secretariat for fact-finding.

8. OYRTMA as an Agency of the State Government is shocked to receive the hasty news headline of the parade of men of the Authority even when facts surrounding the matter were yet to be unravelled, thus posits that the NSCDC shunned professionalism to engage in unsubstantiated media trial aimed at gaining cheap popularity and tarnish the good image of the State Government.

“While we shall pursue this case to a logical conclusion and ensure that our erring officers are made to face the full wrath of the law, we wish to reiterate that OYRTMA would not condone such acts inimical to the wellbeing of the good people of the State and detrimental to the good and positive image of the Governor Makinde led Oyo State Government”, Dr. Fagbemi said.

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