Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command have cracked a syndicate of in-traffic robbery gang with the arrest of three one–chance robbery gang and seven pickpockets using Ajegunle as base of their operations.
The operatives also recovered two commercial ‘Danfo’ buses used by the gangs in operations along Oshodi – Mile 2 Expressway. The 14–seater buses with Lagos registration numbers KTU 716 XS and GGE 532 XL, are presently in RRS Headquarters in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
The suspects were picked up mostly in Ajegunle and other spots in the metropolis; six of the suspects were picked up at hotels in Ajegunle where they confirmed they normally lodge while others were picked up on operations at different bus stops along Mile 2-Oshodi and Oshodi–Iyana Ipaja route respectively.
The arrest of the one–chance syndicate and pickpockets were made possible following tip-offs from members of the public of incessant attacks of the suspects around the areas.
The one–chance robbery suspects were Akeem Fatai (42), Jerry Nwokoro (24), Olayinka Tadius (29), Lucky Thompson (36), Stanley Augustine (31), Ubah Kenneth (25) and Henry Ate (48).
In his confession to the police, one of the suspects, Henry Ate, believed to be the oldest amongst them, admitted that they operate in shifts – mornings and evenings, adding that they retire to their hotels in the afternoon after morning operations, then re-group later in the evenings.
“As at the time we were arrested, more than half of us had gone out for morning shift operations. Seven of us were picked up at various bus stops in Oshodi–Mile 2 route while on duty. We know ourselves; we have no other job than this. It’s what we live on,” he added.
He also disclosed that, occasionally, the teams interchange members, emphasising that as a rule, every one chance team needs a driver, a conductor and a picker, who seats mostly in the last seat of the bus.
“During operations, we pick only few passengers, maybe two to four. We dispossess them of their belongings, drop them and go our way. But we don’t push them down while on motion”, he emphasised.
Ateh also revealed that whenever he was not operating with his gang members, he operated alone at Shoprite, Alausa and Governor’s office routes pick pocketing.
In addition, the arrested pickpocket suspects included Habib Nurudeen (17), Oyemi Ilesanmi (23), Kenneth Okojie (30), Chinedu Uzubi (24), Ajakaiye Christopher (26), Samson Uwaneze (23) and Wasiu Kazeem (24).
One of their victims, Pastor Emeka Ndukwe whose phone was recovered from Christopher Ajakaiye, stated that his phone Opsson was taken from his pocket inside an Iyana Ipaja bound bus. He added that he only noticed the phone was missing when he wanted to buy something.
Confirming the incident, the Police PPRO, SP Dolapo Badmos, said that there would be no hiding place for criminals in Lagos State, adding the suspects have been charged to court.