Friday, 23 January 2015

How we built mansions... Trans-border robbery Suspect recounts

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested eight suspected members of a trans-border robbery gang, among them a 59-year-old man, who confessed to have carried out robbery operations in Benin Republic, Mali, among other countries within West Africa. The gang’s recent operation was reportedly carried out in a bank in Porto Novo, Benin Republic, where over N100 million was carted away.
 Recovered from the suspects were two AK-47 rifles, 11 AK-47 loaded magazines and their operational vehicle, a Toyota Sienna bus, which has an inbuilt compartment where weapons are kept.
 Briefing newsmen on the arrest yesterday, Lagos State Police Commissioner, Kayode Aderanti, said:

“On December 15, 2014, at about11:30p.m., I received information about some deadly trans-border armed robbers in Iba, Festac and Igando areas and immediately directed the Officer in-Charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Abba Kyari, to go after them.
“Thereafter, two SARS decoy teams, led by Kyari, stormed the robbers’ hideout at Victory Estate, Iba, along Lasu-Igando Road, where Samuel Igbi, 59, Anthony Umeh, 38, were arrested.
“Their confessions led to the arrest of the following gang members: Chineye David, 29; Uchenna Eze, 35; Victor Anamalechi, 45; Ifeanacho Igwe, 35; Desmond Obinna, 32, and Nnamdi John, 42.

“John is the armourer and gang leader, from whom the operational vehicle, with number plate KSF876CU and two AK-47 rifles with serial numbers 3610142 and UR4341, hidden in a specially constructed compartment underneath the vehicle, were recovered.
“The suspects confessed to several robberies, including a bank robbery in Porto Novo, Benin Republic; a filling station and a bureau de change in Mali; attempted robbery of UBA Shagamu Road, Ikorodu; several robberies in Port Harcourt and Kano.
“The biggest of them all is the N100 million successful robbery at Alakija area of Lagos, from which John built a mansion at Igando area of Lagos.
“Igwe also built a duplex in his village in Onicha council of Ebonyi State”
Parading the suspects before newsmen, suspected leader of the gang, John, a trader at the popular Alaba International Market, narrated how the Porto Novo, Benin Republic bank operation was carried out.He said:
“We went to Benin Republic in our operational space bus at night, after receiving information from one of our members, Onyema.
“We entered through the back and tied the two security guards that were asleep with strings. Thereafter, we located the vault and collected as much money as we could lay our hands on before leaving the place. We did not kill anybody.At the end of the operation, I got N7 million; Victor got N7 million; Onyeka, N3 million; Igwe, N3 million. I used part of my share to buy a Toyota Corolla car and invested the remaining in my music instrument business.
“I have participated in several robberies since I joined the gang in 2011. In one of the operations at a filling station in Mali, I got N18 million. I handled one of the guns, but have not killed anyone.We do not shoot during operations outside the country because police do not patrol at night,” said the secondary school drop-out.
 My specialty are vaults—Victor
Another suspect, Victor, told journalists that his role was to open vaults during operations, boasting that there was no vault too hard for him to open.
He said:
 “Anytime we went on operation, my role is to open the vaults. I use a special metal to open the lock of the vault, even if it had special codes.I bought three vehicles from the loots; two for me and one for my wife.”
He lamented that if he knew he would meet his waterloo, he would not have gone to meet one of the gang’s members at Apple Junction in Festac Town.
Fifty-nine years old Samuel Igbi, who initially claimed he had nothing to do with the other suspects, later confessed that his house was used as a base for sharing loots at the end of every operation.
He added that he was usually given between N20,000 and N50,000.

On his part, Ifeanacho Igwe said he used part of his loot to buy three trucks, which were currently working for him.
The CP said the suspects would be charged to court, when strike is called off, warning criminals to stay away from Lagos, or suffer same fate.


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