The Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has been thrown into confusion after the disappearance of an impounded Toyota Corolla vehicle, parked in the custody of the police.
SaharaReporters learnt that the Toyota vehicle was impounded and parked within the premises of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Ondo State Police Command in the Alagbaka area of Akure.
The stolen Toyota vehicle, impounded a month ago and parked within the premises of the police station, had no battery but appears to have been mysteriously driven away from the station by yet-to-identified persons.
SaharaReporters authoritatively gathered that a newly re-deployed police sergeant, who was transferred to the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Command and was on duty when the car was stolen, has been arrested in connection to the incident.
This police sergeant, whose name has not been revealed, is currently being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Office in Akure, and helping with investigation into the stolen Toyota vehicle.
Police sources who briefed our correspondent on Saturday about the case said the disappearance of the vehicle had remained a "mystery" to the officers in the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Police Command.
One of these sources, who preferred not to be named, disclosed that other police sergeants, who were also on duty, have been arrested and are undergoing interrogation.
He said: “My brother, the disappearance of this vehicle (Toyota Corolla) looked mysterious to the officers in the station, because it was impounded and parked in the custody of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad as an exhibit. And I am aware that the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr. Onabanjo, has been summoned to give account of how the vehicle disappeared from his station.
“I learnt there was this particular sergeant that has been suspected in the case, because he was newly transferred to the station and a day after his assumption of office, the Toyota Corolla vehicle was stolen from the station. Mind you, this particular vehicle had no battery when it was parked in the station, which means the person or those who perpetrated the crime must have come along with a battery to be able to drive the car away.
“So, all the Police Sergeants that were duty on the very day the vehicle was stolen from the station, particularly the ones on ‘counter-duty’, have been arrested and have been helping their superiors with the case. In fact, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gbenga Adeyanju, has shown interest in the case because it is a big slap on our faces. How can a thief enter into a station that is fully armed with officers and make away with the car?
“Definitely, the operation has the hand of an insider, which could also be a policeman within the unit of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, but I am sure we are going to unravel the person behind this mysterious disappearance. The Commissioner of Police has asked the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the command to take over the case and ensure that the vehicle is recovered and the perpetrators are also arrested."
Femi Joseph, Spokesperson of the Ondo State Police Command, could not be immediately reached at the time of filing this report as his official lines were not connecting.
A text message sent by our correspondent to his official line did not also deliver, but a source in his office confirmed the incident via phone.
The source said: “It is true the incident occurred, but the CID has taken over the case with a view to unravelling those who might have pepetrated this cime as it is a slap on our faces that a Toyota Corolla was stolen from our station".