Men of the Special Anti-robbery Squad attached to the Lagos State Police Command have arrested a five-man gang of armed robbersalleged to have been terrorising residents of Agege and its environs.
The gang, led byex-local government council staff, Ismaila Oladosun, has Shodeinde Azeez, Salami Ahmed, Sunday Samuel and Monday Paul as members. Monday is said to be receiver and disposer of stolen goods for the gang.
Luck ran out on the gang when they robbed a police officer at the Federal Highway Barracks in Ikeja,carting away phones, laptops and cash.It was this incident that led to the arrest of Ismaila who led the police to the hideout of the other members in Oko-Oba area of Agege.
Narrating his story to Daily Timesat the police command, 29- year-old Ismaila said he was a revenue collector for Okada ridersat Ikeja Local Government as.“I was making N950 daily depending on how many tickets I sold, when the Lagos State Government stopped the operation of okada riders, I found myself inrobbery because I neededa means of livelihood to sustain my wife and daughter.
“I started robbery in 2013 with a gun thelate Orji gave me. I went for two major operations with the gun and I always paidN10,000 every time I used the gun. My highest take home cash I made was N230, 000 and N5, 000 was the least.”
Ogun State-born shodeinde Azeez, who claimed to be a prelim student at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Consort said he dropped out from the programme due to lack of finance in 2008.“I had a dream of studying mass communication at the university, but after dropping out from school, I started working as a bar attendant. But in January 2014, I stopped the job. That was when I, Ola and Samuel started snatching bags and phones.”
The 28-year-old denied any involvement with the alleged leader of the gang, Ismaila. He claimed Ismaila operated a different gang from his.
“We all live in the same area in Oko-Oba Road, Agege and we know each other as bad boys in the community; but sincerely, I never operated with him.”
Sunday Samuel, 27, from Ekiti State denied involvement with the gang. “I am not a robber. I am a D.J and a trained electrician. It is just unfortunate that the guys I was living with were thieves and I never saw it as a problem. My moving in with them was for the convenience of my business. When my parents moved out of Agege to their own house in Ifo, I had to start living with Azeez since most of my jobs centered around that area.”
Salami Ahmed disclosed that he is the last of his gang members. He claimed he used to belong to a four-man gang. “All my gang members have been killed. Tajudeen Adeyemi, Olorunloga and Hakeem. They were lynched when we went for an operation in Ayobo area.It was their death that made me change in 2013. But when Ismaila was arrested and he was asked to point all the bad guys in the neighbourhood, he pointed at me. I used to be bad but now I am a changed person.”
Monday Paul was also arrested for his involvement as a criminal receiver. The Kogi-born car dealer was alleged to have been assisting the gang to sell stolen cars. “I sell tokunbo and brand new cars for people based on an agreed commission. Sometimes ago, Ismaila brought a car to me that he wanted to sell.
“It was a used Toyota Camry. He told me his friend was the owner, so I called Mr. Gbenga who looked at the papers of the car and paid the agreed sum of N250,000 and my commission was N15, 000. I did not know it was a stolen car, it was after we sold it that I discovered. He also brought a Mercedes Jeep and I sold it for N650, 000 and my commission was N20, 000.”
One Gbenga Odunuga, who claimed to be an innocent buyer also told our correspondent how he got involved. “I am a panel beater in Agidingbi. I did not know it was a stolen car.I wasata naming ceremony of my child when Monday called me that there was a car someone wanted to sell. He claimed the owner needed money.
“I told him I was not at work and that if he could meet me at UBA around Acme Road, Ogba, so that I could withdraw money to pay once we agreed on the price. I eventually bought the car for N250,000 but was really surprised when recently policemen came to my workshop asking me if I knew one Monday;I said yes, and they told me the car I bought from him years back was a stolen car. But I had already repaired the car and sold it to another buyer for N400, 000.
However, SARS operatives say investigations are still ongoing to identify other buyers of the many stolen cars snatched by the gang and sold by Monday.