When Salifu Odiba gained admission to study Medicine and Surgery at University of Jos in 1996, his dream was to one day own his hospital.
But two years after his graduation, the 35-year-old doctor abandoned his stethoscope and chose life on the fast lane by joining pipeline vandalism cartel.
Odiba, who was recently arrested in Kogi State by the Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, Force Headquarters, said he was attracted to the illegal business because it was lucrative.
He said, “I spent eight years studying Medicine and Surgery in UNIJOS and graduated in 2004 and later served in Bauchi State. A year later, I got a job at Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission where I practised for six months. But I was later asked to leave.
“I moved to Kogi in 2006 and it was there that a friend introduced me to the business. I was making good money and later got a part time job at Federal Medical Centre. I received N90,000 as monthly salary which was not enough for me. So, I stuck to the pipeline business.”
The suspect added that he even had a part-time job at another hospital but the commission he received was too little.
Describing his modus operandi, the Kogi State indigene said he acted as a middleman for the vandals and buyers.
He said although he never destroyed a pipeline, he was actively involved in the business and soon became popular.
He said he was usually paid commission by pipeline vandals and buyers after he had sold the products.
“People started calling me ‘oil doctor’ because I always had ready buyers for all kinds of petroleum products. Oil business is very lucrative especially in Kogi State where as many as 17 trucks of petroleum products could be siphoned and sold in one night,” he said.
Odiba lamented that the medical profession was no longer as prestigious as it was due to the “large number” of people practising it.