Sunday, July 17, 2016 3:38 pm
Operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command, at the weekend, arrested a suspected member of an eight-man robbery gang, Abdullahi Olanrewaju, 30. That was during the gang’s operations at Abeje and Onibeju Streets in Agege area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
The operatives who were led to the scene of the robbery by Inspector Anthony Inege, said one of the victims, who managed to escape through the window, alerted them that armed men were operating in their building.
The officers followed the complainant to the robbery scene where they met men of the underworld numbering about eight in an attempt to enter another building on the street. It was gathered that while the robbers sighted the police, they opened fire on them.
The swift response of the RRS operatives, who were on routine patrol in the area, led to the arrest of one them while others made away with two pump action guns, N549,500 and other valuables.
The suspect, who hails from Ita-Amoju in Kwara State, confessed to RRS investigators that he was lured into the robbery with a promise by his gang members that they would buy a commercial bus for him after the operation.
“When I arrived Lagos, I started driving a commercial bus plying Agege to Oshodi before I joined the robbery gang. But all of a sudden, the bus developed faults, and the owner had to sell the vehicle off. Since then, things have been very difficult for me.
“I met other gang members at a beer parlour in Akerele Wahabi area in Agege. I told them I was a bus driver and they promised to buy a new bus for me.When they refused to buy the vehicle for me, they promised again that they would introduce me to one business that can make me become rich. I never knew it was armed robbery they wanted to introduce to me to,” he stated.
He said, “At midnight when we went for robbery, I, with other seven gang members met at Markaz Road. We operated from one building to the other. Although, I didn’t follow them inside, I was placed on standby outside. My job was to keep all the looted items including money’’.
The suspect stated that they went to the operation with four pump action guns and jack knives in case of any security operatives intercepting them.
“We went for that operation with four bullet loaded pump action guns. We had planned our movements for that night. We had intention to rob all the houses on the two streets but luck ran out on us as we were able to visit only five buildings before the arrival of RRS operatives. We collected a lot of money, mobile phones and jewellery, to mention a few’’.
He noted that two of his colleagues opened fire at the police upon sighting them approaching with their vehicle.
“When we sighted the police approaching, we had no choice than to shoot them. We opened fire on them and they retaliated immediately. But when we noticed that we were about to run out of bullets, we decided to take to our heels. Unfortunately for me, while other managed to escape, the police arrested me because I was unable to join the waiting vehicle.
“If I had known, I would not have followed them that night. It was my first time of going out with them. I didn’t know they were into robbery but when I discovered the kind of business they wanted to introduce to me, it was too late for me to reject, they also threatened to kill me if I expose them,” he said.
One of the victims who craved anonymity alleged that the arrested suspect led the other men to their house.
“That was the man who pointed gun at everyone of us threatening to shoot us if we failed to cooperate with them. They had to destroy my door room with sledge hammer before they could enter my room”, he explained.
Another victim who lives on Onibeju Street, confirmed the allegation that the suspect led his colleagues to their building.
“It was a bad midnight for all of us. In fact, he hit one of our neighbours with the pump action gun. The man in question has been hospitalized and receiving treatment”, he added.
The victims of the five buildings they visited on Ibeje and Onibeju streets, besieged the RRS’ headquarters to identify the suspect as the gang leader who threatened to waste their lives.
“When I did the calculations, the fleeing robbers had escaped with amount of N549,500 collected from all of us with other valuables”, one of the victims said.
The items recovered from the arrested suspect were one cut-to-size pump action, jack knife, two laptops, 14 handsets, wrist watch and N2,600.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Superintendent of Police, Dolapo Badmus, noted that the suspect was helping the Police with investigation in order to arrest the fleeing robbers.