The Lagos State Police Command has arrested an armed robbery gang which specialises in snatching vehicles from fun seekers on Victoria Island, Lekki and Ajah areas of the state.
The suspects, Obinna Eyinma, Bernard Bongy, Moses Ogbu, Kichito Nwachukwu, Ifeanyi Okafor, Chukwuma Akubueze, David Joshua and Emeka Uche; told journalists that their strategy was to lurk around exotic clubs on the island, targeting the vehicles of unsuspecting fun lovers.
It was learnt that the gang had gone to the residence of one Mr. Omisore at Eletu Ogabi, Victoria Island last week Thursday, where they had snatched one Toyota Prado Sports Utility Vehicle marked AAA690BH.
While speaking with journalists at the police command headquarters, the leader of the robbery gang, Bongy, who is a citizen of Benin Republic, said fun seekers were easy targets.
He said, “I was the one who formed the gang. I was working as a company driver before I was sacked. I was sacked along with 29 others for stealing fuel. I was frustrated and went back to my country where I met one Alhaji Sidi.
“He was a car dealer and he advised me to convince my fellow drivers to bring stolen vehicles to him and he would buy them. I took a jeep to him and he gave me N100,000.
“Later, I organised my friends to go on car-snatching operations. We had a ready market for such cars in Cotonou. We would lurk around clubs on the Island, watch the drunken fun seekers returning in their vehicles, and swoop on them.”
According to police authorities, during another operation in Ajah, the gang swooped on two policemen in the residence of their victim, and beat them up, snatching their AK-47 rifles in the process.
Bongy said they attacked the policemen and stole their guns for fear of being arrested.
He said, “A friend called Oguntimi called me that his neighbour had two new vehicles, and I could come and steal them. We used cutlasses to break into the house. While in the compound, we attacked the security man, and tied him up.
“We entered the main building and met a woman and her little baby. We asked her who else was with her in the building. We did not know some policemen were also stationed there. When we ran into the policemen, a fight ensued.
“But we overpowered them and collected their two rifles. When we collected the guns, one of the policemen jumped over the fence and escaped. We heard gunshots from outside, and we had to also flee, abandoning the rifles inside a gutter.”
Another suspect, Eyinma, said he had taken to armed robbery when his motorcycle spare parts business.
The 35-year-old indigene of Abia State said a barber on Victoria Island usually helped him to identify easy targets.
“I was dealing in motorcycle spare parts in Ikotun, Lagos. The business was not doing well and it folded up. That was when I joined the gang. I have gone with them on four operations. We planned to sell the snatched vehicle for N1.5m before the police arrested us. Now, my advice to robbers is to stop the work and look for better things to do,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police, Cornelius Aderanti, said efforts were on to arrest fleeing members of the gang, adding that residents of Lagos should be vigilant and always avail the police of credible information.
He said, “The Special Anti-Robbery Squad team led by SP Abba Kyari, on my directive, apprehended the suspects in their criminal hideouts in Obalende and Kuramo Beach. The suspects confessed to series of armed robbery operations at Ajah, Lekki, and Victoria Island areas.
“Efforts are on to effect the arrest of other members of the gang. I enjoin Lagosians to be vigilant, and to keep on availing the police of credible information. We assure people of the state that we are committed to reducing crimes to the barest minimum.”