Police investigations revealed cables were carted away from NITEL’s warehouse in Victoria Island at the heart of Lagos State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported police officers carried out the sting operation in the early hours of Sunday morning.
"We have been on surveillance for about two months for the suspects after we got intelligence report about their activities,” the police said.
He added that the ringleader, Safui, had promised one of the police officers in the station two million naira (US$12,700), so as to assist them in stealing the cables. Some officers were posted to keep watch over the facilities.
"They (suspects) came in with a disguised truck, with NITEL stickers, so as to suggest that they were NITEL staff.
"They were about driving out when our men swooped on them. A NITEL Warehouse Manager, one other NITEL staff and 15 others, were arrested on the spot.
"The truck and the cables are currently kept at the police station."
According to the police, the suspects did not relent in their attempt to bribe the police officers on duty, who were allegedly offered a bribe of 700,000 naira (US$4,500) to facilitate their release.
"The suspected ringleader also threatened to use his influence to post the officers from the station to other areas if they did not cooperate with him," the police added.