How we formed robbery gang after leaving prison —Ex-convicts ••
A gang of armed robbers who recently held residents of Ogbomoso town in Oyo State to ransom in a chain of robbery operations met their waterloo when their Rambo-like raids was abruptly caught short by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of Oyo State Police Command.
At the end of the armed robbers’ encounter with the operatives, one of them was shot dead by the police while another, Ajayi Ademola, who sustained serious gunshot wound, was arrested. Saturday Tribune learnt that his confessions during police interrogation led to the arrest of four other gang members who escaped on the day of the operations.
The arrested suspects included Ajayi Ademola (33), Awoniyi Rotimi (21), Adigun Sikiru a.k.a Lighter (32), Abayomi Olatunji a.k.a Energy (35) and Abolarin Femi a.k.a Dudu (28).
Exhibits recovered from them included a Pump-Action rifle belonging to a victim, two locally-made guns, a Beretta pistol, 15 9mm live ammunition, an expended cartridge, a Toyota Corolla car snatched at gun point, a HP laptop and five assorted phones, among others.
Speaking on the arrest of the suspects, during a press briefing recently, the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude said that the gang members had on Saturday, June 17 at about 10:00p.m., attacked one Ogunyemi Taiwo and snatched his Toyota Corolla with registration number GNN 399 AE at gun point at Under-G area of Ogbomoso town.
Not done, the gang trailed a man, Gbemiga Oladunni to his house. Unaware that he had stopped over at his neighbour’s house, the suspects went into Oladunni’s apartment and carted away his Pump Action rifle and some cash.
From there, Odude said the gang went on a robbery spree to a filling station where they robbed the petrol attendants of cash and other valuables, before their activities were halted by the SARS operatives who responded to a distress call.
“On sighting the operatives, the hoodlums started shooting at them, prompting the SARS operatives to engage them in a shootout that lasted for some minutes. At the end of the gunfire exchange, one of the hoodlums was hit by police bullets while another member, Ademola , was arrested alive with gunshot injuries sustained during the gun battle,” Odude explained.
He added that other members of the gang abandoned the vehicle earlier snatched and escaped with bullet wounds, but were later arrested.
Speaking with Saturday Tribune, one of the victims Ogunyemi Taiwo, a software engineer and 400-level student of LAUTECH, said: “I was at my hostel gate from where I had gone to help someone fix an issue on his system and had shut down the ignition of my car when I saw two guys at my back.
“They asked me to start the ignition again. I didn’t notice them following me all the while. As I turned to the left to see who was asking me to turn on the ignition, I was hit with the butt of the pistol on my eye. They asked me to step out of the vehicle, opened my boot and dumped me there.
“After a while, they came to the boot again and asked me to get down. I was then ordered to lie down. They were yet to move all the while; we were still on the same spot. They also asked three other people in my hostel to lie down as well and they collected their mobile phones.
Another victim, Oladunni, also said: “I left my shop and was going home, unaware that I was being trailed. I switched off my car’s headlamps at my gate and got down to have a chat with a neighbour. While there, I heard that armed robbers had entered my house.
I knew I had nothing they would steal because I had no money at home. I had been robbed five times, and in fact, in one of the operations, I was tied up with a rope and beaten. That was why I obtained a licence for the gun they took away. That was the only thing they stole in my house. They also attacked my wife’s shop and took her bag, as well as about N11,000.”
The suspects also spoke with Saturday Tribune. Below are the excerpts:
That was the first time I would be robbing in Ogbomoso. I had robbed twice in Ibadan with members of my gang. I joined them in May this year. I had earlier been to prison, but it wasn’t because I robbed. I was given a bus to be driving. I knew they stole the bus, but I didn’t follow them for the operation. I paid for the bus and started using for commercial purposes.
I was sentenced to prison term in Ondo State, because the robbers operated in Ondo State. I was released from prison in September 2015, by the Chief Justice while he was trying to decongest the prison.
After I returned from prison, somebody gave me a bus to be using to ply some areas in Osogbo, and it was while I was doing this that I came across Sikiru a.k.a Lighter. We had earlier met in Ondo prison. He told me to come and meet him in Ibadan. When I got Ibadan, he opened up to me that he was still into robbery, and that was how I joined him and his gang.
We operated twice in Ibadan; I don’t know Ibadan well, but we carried out the operation around Bodija area. Both operations were in the night. When we operated in Ibadan, I saw just one gun with them, but when we wanted to go for the Ogbomoso robbery, one of us, Akin, invited two students who came with two guns.
For the Ogbomoso robbery, Akin had a gun. One of the gang members who died also had a gun, as well as another member who escaped. I was the one who drove the vehicle we used for the operation, and we had four guns with us.
I also operated in Ikirun, Osun State. Akin had introduced me to someone, one Adebowale, and it was that Adebowale who asked us to come and rob market women who take the proceeds from their daily sales to the bank.
He said that it was one of the attendants of the market women who gave him the information about the plan. I got N230,000 from the operation, while Akin got over N300,000.
It was Rotimi who gave information about all the places we went to in Ogbomoso before the police stopped our operations.
I knew Sikiru about two years ago when I was struggling to make a living in Lagos. When I met him again, he asked me to supply him information on where he could rob. I didn’t know he was an ex-convict. When he initially told me, I didn’t put my mind to it, but after about three weeks, he called me again that he was already in Ogbomoso with one of his friends, Akin. He informed me that three others were coming from Osogbo.
I was told that they needed a car for the operation, so I took Akin, and the other gang member who lost his life during the operation to School area where they snatched a vehicle. After that, they asked me where they could go to rob, and I told them of a man who sells cement. However, when we got to his house and didn’t meet him at home, they were angry with me. I left them at that point because they were really mad at me, saying that I gave them incorrect information.
I later learnt they went to a bakery, before going to one supermarket. The owner of the supermarket sighted them, so he escaped. After the supermarket, they went to a filling station, along Ikoyi road. That was where police got them.
I had been to the prison earlier. Then, I was just stealing mobile phones in people’s homes. I was arrested and sent to Ondo prison for stealing. It was there I met Ademola.
I met Sikiru through one of my area brothers, Tunji. Sikiru was always coming to a hotel in my area around Atenda Mighty in Ibadan, where we relax and smoke Indian hemp and he was always generous with money. One day, Sikiru gave my mobile phone number to a guy coming to Ibadan to contact me. When the guy came, he gave me the pistol to help him keep. I was not working with them initially.
Initially, I didn’t know that Lighter and others were into armed robbery until one day when Lighter brought out a gun while we were smoking Indian hem in a school. then. I was shocked, and he told me stylishly that I now know what he was doing for a living.
One of the gang members, Akin, was also generous to me. At times, he would give me N500 or N1,000. I didn’t know that the police were already on the trail of the gang.
Sikiru was dating a prostitute in a hotel where I worked as a security personnel. He was always generous to me. He was staying with the prostitute and had no personal accommodation.
One day, we were in a school compound not far from the hotel where we went to smoke Indian hemp. I was with Kayode, one of the gang members, and Sikiru. After a while, Sikiru left us, only to return with a gun. He then told us that he was an armed robber.
After we left the school and returned to the hotel, I was not comfortable with what I saw, so I called the owner of the hotel to inform him.
Based on that, the owner of the hotel evicted Sikiru’s girlfriend. They both moved to the room of one Usman, but few days after, Sikiru met me on the way and asked to me to get him a place to sleep, saying that he had been chased out by Usman.
Since it was late, I took him to him to my house and it was that night that we were arrested by the police. I had been given money from a robbery operation carried out by the gang before.”