Trans-border suspected car snatcher and alleged robbery kingpin, Hamani Tidjani, has died after 10 years in Kirikiri prison custody, Lagos. Tidjani, who was arrested by the police for allegedly masterminding series of car snatching across the Nigeria-Benin Republic border, died at about 9.OO a.m. last Saturday.
The former Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Tafa Balogun, had briefed the former president Olusegun Obasanjo of the criminal exploits of the suspected notorious robber in West Africa sub region.
Consequently, Balogun was mandated by Obasanjo to fish out Tijani.
Tidjani’s action led to the closure of Nigeria-Benin Republic border by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Sequel to appeals by the former president of Benin Republic, Mr. Kerekou, the border was reopened after the arrest of the kingpin.
The suspect was standing trial in Nigeria for various crimes which he allegedly committed in the country between 1980 and 2003.
The spokesman of the Lagos Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Biyi Jeje, who confirmed his death, said Tidjani had been suffering from ‘partial stroke’ over the past nine months.
“We had given him series of medical attention but his condition worsened. We informed the Lagos State
Government but they thought we were making spurious assertions. The Lagos State team finally visited Tidjani in late December to confirm his illness
“We had expected that they would come back with their medical team. But up till this morning, they never came,” he said.
Tidjani was arrested in September 2003 and had been facing trial before a Lagos High Court on a three-count charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and receiving stolen goods.
When contacted, J.H. Bashir, the deceased’s lawyer, said he was heading to the Kirikiri Prison to confirm the development.
“If it is true, then an act of injustice has been done as far as we are concerned and the Lagos State Government and the Obasanjo government are responsible for his death,” Bashir said.