'Every day for the thief but one day for the owner' they always say. The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Adeniji Adele, Lagos, has arrested a gang of robbers who operate in Lagos and neighbouring states under the guise of working as commercial drivers.
According to PUNCH Metro, the suspects ─ Suleiman Ibrahim, Kayode Orelope, Kehinde Fatai and Afeez Olatunde ─ were arrested by the FSARS operatives from their respective hideouts in Mushin, Iyana Ipaja, Igando in Lagos and Ijoko, Ogun State after a tip-off.
According to the police, the gang made use of commercial buses and operated by picking unsuspecting passengers and robbing them while in motion ─ a method popularly referred to as one-chance.
Our correspondent learnt that after Ibrahim, who is said to be the gang leader, was arrested in July 9, he confessed to the crime, and led the police to the hideouts of other members.
36-year-old Ibrahim who hails from Awori, Lagos, explained that in one-chance operation, his gang members would be positioned at strategic bus stops and would also come into the bus as passengers to make their victims unsuspicious.
He said, “We don’t go out until around 9pm. I was a commercial driver and I was plying the Oshodi and Mushin areas. I have been in the one-chance robbery for about 10 years, and we were able to escape police arrest on several occasions.
“When we go out for an operation, I usually drive while another gang member will stand at the door. Some of our guys will also be at some bus stops.
“When our bus is full, we then drive to an isolated point, and rob all of them.
“We collect money, jewellery, gold, phones and other valuables. We drop them at areas that we know will be hard for them to get another bus, thereby preventing them from calling the police.
“We made an average of N50,000 from each outing. Although we were rough, we never molested any woman during operation.”
Ibrahim, father of three, who lives on Musibau Street, Ajangbadi, said he joined the gang after being lured by a friend he identified simply as Ganiyu.
Olatunde told our correspondent that the gang made use of car jacks , not guns, to frighten their passengers.
He said, “We did not have guns, but we were many and we had objects like car jack to deal with any stubborn victim. The jack actually looks like a gun, and then in the dark, no passenger wants to risk finding out if the gun is real or not.”
Thirty-two-year-old Fatai from Oyo State said he saw Ibrahim as a rich man because he spent lavishly, adding that it enticed him to join the gang.
He said, “I was not only a commercial driver, I was also a union executive in Mile 2 area. The times I went out with the gang, we robbed at the Oshodi and Obalende areas.
“Ibrahim lured me to join them. The highest amount I made was N32,000.”
In his own confession, Orelope, 40, who hails from Oyo State, said he was also invited into the gang by Ibrahim as they both plied the same routes.
Our correspondent learnt that the DCP Chris Ezike-led FSARS were still investigating the robbery.
The police said they would charge the suspects to court after investigations were over.