A robbery suspect identified as Yusuf Lawal, aka Eletu, who was recently arrested alongside another member of his gang, Taju Alabi, aka Kolo, in the Ebute Meta area of Lagos State has confessed to taking to robbing from the early age of seven.
According to Punch, officers of the State Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, attached to the State Department of Criminal Investigation, SDCI, were patrolling Kadiri and Kano streets around 4 am when they heard a cry for help.
SARS officials said a group of robbers, numbering 19, were said to be operating in the community at the time.
Following the distress call, the officials arrested Lawal who was allegedly dispossessing a victim of money, phones, and other valuables, after his accomplice stabbed the victim and fled the scene.
20-year-old Lawal, who claims to be the only child of his parents, was taken to the SDCI for interrogation, during which he reportedly led the police to make other arrests.
Lawal said he started with petty robbery and refused to stop even after his father had warned him to and explained that it turned out badly due to peer pressure.
According to the Lagos State indigene, “I am the only child of my parents. I grew up not knowing my mother, who died when I was still a child. I don’t know what my father does for a living. He could not correct me because I always overpowered him whenever he attempted to do so. It’s been 13 years now since I started.
He said he later ran away from home and started living with a friend in Idi-Oro, Mushin.
“I started robbing when I was seven after I quit primary school,” the father of one said, adding that his friend, one Sule, introduced him to robbery.
“We always went out to rob residents. We stole phones, money, and other valuables. Also, we usually rob very early in the morning. I will turn a new leaf if the police can release me,” Lawal pleaded.
In his defence, the second suspect, Alabi, denied knowing Lawal. He said he had never participated in any of the robberies.
Lawal, while allegedly confronting him with his sin, said, “On two different occasions, I stole phones and gave them to you to sell, which you did and we later shared the money.
“You saw me living large and you asked me for the secret, and I told you. We have been doing this together; so tell the truth. When we were robbing people, you should have known this will be the end,” Lawal revealed.
Alabi subsequently owned up, saying he had only gone for three operations.
“He’s my friend and we have been friends since childhood. We met at Mushin. I work at a car wash and I am also a bus conductor. I have only stolen three phones. It is true that we rob people,” the 18-year-old said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Joe Offor, when contacted by the newspaper for comments, promised to call back but was yet to do so as at press time.
However, a police source revealed that the suspects had been cooperating with the police and giving useful information.
The source who didn’t want his name mentioned, said, “They were 19 in number that participated in the robbery that morning. We were on a patrol that morning when we received a distress call.
“We quickly deployed our men and Lawal was caught red-handed. We are on the trail of the other suspects, and soon, they will be arrested,” he added.