A gang of suspected armed inter-state armed robbers which specialised in dispossessing victims of their cars and valuables has been arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of Oyo State Police Command. The gang, it was learnt, usually target female drivers.
The arrested suspects included Gbene Emmanuel (27), Akhigbe Andrew (35), Augustine Helen (27), said to be the gang’s armourer, Godwin Ngozi (38), Ogedegbe Famous (23), Owolabi Adegoke (29), Adebayo Muyiwa (54), Pelemo Samuel (28) and Oni Niyi (35).
Speaking during a press briefing last week, the state Commissioner of Police, Sam Adegbuyi said that the gang attacked one Omobola (surname withheld) and attempted to snatch her Toyota Corolla ca at gun point as she was about to drive into her residence at Elebu area of Ibadan.
He said that the alarm raised by the victim attracted neighbours and SARS operatives on patrol, leading to Emmanuel’s arrest as he tried to escape with his gang member, Famous. Adegbuyi added that Emmanuel led the SARS operatives to other gang members in Ibadan and Akure, Ondo State, including their suspected armourers who were females.
“During interrogation, they confessed to have snatched five cars and mentioned one Alhaji who used to receive the vehicles from them,” the police commissioner stated.
Recovered from the suspects were two locally-made cut-to-size guns, two live cartridges, a Nissan Sunny car, an axe and a cutlass.
Saturday Tribune had an interview session with the suspects. Below are the confessions:
Gbene Emmanuel (27).
I am from Rivers State and an articulated vehicle driver, but I live in Ughelli in Delta State. I was arrested during an attempt to rob a woman of his vehicle. My friend, Famous, invited me and one Praise, saying that his friend in Akure said he should come to Akure for a robbery operation. I agreed to follow him because I needed money. I knew him in Delta State.
I started robbery with Praise who is at large. We operated in Delta State. Since I finished my Ordinary National Diploma in Computer Science at the Abia State Polytechnic in 2010, I have been a driver because I could not secure a good job. Those I worked with were always stressing me by not paying salary promptly or giving me faulty vehicles.
I discussed my desire to travel to Cyprus, Athens for further studies with Praise and he led me into his robbery gang. What I usually did was to drive away the vehicle the gang members snatched at gun point. The gun we used belonged to Praise but he bought an additional one when we were going to Akure to join Famous.
I was able to save about N450,000 from proceeds of robbery operations I did with Praise, but I have squandered it. Some of the receivers did not pay for the vehicles we gave them. I have joined others to snatch five vehicles.
I also have a friend, Matthew, in Ibadan whom I used to work with in Ibadan to snatch vehicles. I knew another friend, Andrew, through Matthew. When I was in Akure, I was speaking with both of them on phone and Andrew asked me to come to Ibadan to help him snatch a vehicle. He said he needed to pay some bills and was not having money.
Before the latest one, I snatched three vehicles with Matthew in Ibadan in 2016. We usually operated along Ring Road and environs between 7:00p.m. and 8:00p.m., and we usually targeted Toyota Camry vehicles driven by women. We used to trail them on motorcycles.
I always take the vehicles to Benin, Edo State, and the Alhaji that used to buy them would send someone to pick them. He was based in the North.
On the last operation, he said: “We trailed a woman into a street and as she got to the gate to her house, she stopped. While she was on the phone, I got down from the bike, bent down so that she would not see me and tries to open her car door. The door was locked. She noticed it and I walked back towards the bike on which Famous was waiting. It was Andrew who brought the bike.
“She reversed, beamed her headlamp at us, came to me and asked why I was trying to open her car door. I told her it was a mistake, but Famous was jittery so he sped off. That was how the woman raised the alarm.
Famous Ogedegbe (23)
I am from Afuze in Edo State. I was into stealing and burglary in Delta State. We don’t have money in our family; that was why I started stealing. The Ibadan car robbery operation was my first time of doing such.
Augustine Helen called me for the ‘business’ of trailing people who had money or who just left banks. But we needed a car to carry out our operations; that was what brought us to Ibadan. I knew Helen through a friend, Joe.
Andrew Akhigbe (35)
I live at Apata, Ibadan. I was into painting. I knew Emmanuel through my friend, Matthew, who lived with me at Odo Ona area of Ibadan. Later, Matthew went to Delta, saying he wanted to go and stay with his brother. He came back to Ibadan in August 2016 and I saw him with Gbene on a motorcycle.
Later, Matthew came to my house but he returned to Benin. He called me from there and informed me that he was coming to Ibadan to rob. He asked me to look for a motorcycle to work with, and I got him one.