Joy was arrested along with a teacher, Lukman Kelani, who was said to have stood as a guarantor of the fleeing suspect at Northbridge Oil, which employed him as a driver.
The company had sent Ekene to deliver the fuel at a filling station in Port Harcourt, on October 1.
It was gathered that the company became worried two days after when the filling station that was supposed to receive the fuel called that it was still being awaited.
After a futile attempt to reach Ekene, the company was said to have reported the matter to the police, which eventually recovered the company’s empty tanker in Anambra State.
The police subsequently traced Ekene to his residence in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos on October 5 and picked his girlfriend up. The woman was said to have led the operatives to the guarantor’s house.
The girlfriend told police that she was at home together with Ekene on October 1 when he received a call from the company to embark on a trip to Port Harcourt.
She said, “We have been together for four months now. I only know he hails from Abia State. I don’t know any of his family. We were at home on that day when he was called from the office to take fuel to Port Harcourt. He called me two days after, requesting that I send him recharge cards which I did. He said the vehicle he travelled in was faulty.
“I was surprised when I was told by the police that he diverted the fuel and fled.”
Kelani, the guarantor, said Okeke, who is his church member and colleague, persuaded him to vouch for Ekene when the company wanted to employ him.
The 35-year-old teacher, who hails from Ogun State, added that the last time he heard from Ekene was September 24, when he congratulated him on the telephone on the birth of his new born baby.
He said, “I stood as his guarantor because of the relationship between his lover and me. We attend the same church and teach in the same school. The last time we spoke was on the telephone. My wife just gave birth and Ekene called to congratulate us. I don’t know his whereabouts.”
The police said the duo had refused to give useful information to trail the suspect and consequently arraigned them on Tuesday in a Tinubu Magistrate’s Court on one count of perversion of justice.
Both of them pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The presiding magistrate, Mrs. M.B. Folami, granted them bail in the sum of N2m each with two sureties each in like sum.
Folami added that the sureties must relate to the defendants by blood and deposit N500,000 each to the account of the chief registrar.
The girlfriend and the teacher were remanded in prison custody pending when their bail conditions would be perfected while the case was adjourned till November 21, 2016.