Anxiety as ex-convicts form robbery gangs, terrorise Ogun residents
The Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, Lagos State, has arrested some ex-convicts for alleged robberies in different parts of Ogun State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that operatives of the Zonal Intervention Squad arrested members of a three-man gang – Taofeek Ganiu, Sunday Adegbite, and Sunday Ademuyiwa – who forged their friendship in the Agodi Prison, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The suspects, who had spent between four to seven years in prison, reportedly organised a series of robberies shortly after their release.
They were allegedly plotting to rob a microfinance bank in the Agbado area of the state when they were arrested.
The command also apprehended another three ex-inmates of an Ogun State prison, after they hijacked a bus loaded with foodstuffs on the Ijebu Ode-Ibadan Road. It was said that the ex-convicts, Ogbonna Eze, Joseph Ayo and Ahmed Ramoni, with the connivance of three others, Oliver Mba, Emmanuel Nwosu and John Joseph, were about to sell the Nissan bus when they were nabbed.
Another four-man robbery gang, led by an ex-inmate, Rabiu Abiodun, had reportedly robbed the Itori community, including the house of a pastor, before they were rounded up after Abiodun sustained a gunshot injury in the hand.
The men were among 17 robbery suspects paraded at the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan.
All the ex-convicts told PUNCH Metro that they went back to crime when they could not find anything to do after their prison experiences.
The first set of ex-convicts, Ganiu, Adegbite and Ademuyiwa, told our correspondent that they met in the Agodi Prison under different circumstances.
While Ganiu and Adegbite were imprisoned for car theft and robbery respectively, Ademuyiwa said he stole the mobile phone of a divisional police officer and he was caught by the DPO’s personal assistant.
Ganiu, 31, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State, said, “I spent four years in jail where I met my two friends. After we left the prison, there was nothing to do.
“Somebody called me on the telephone and said there was money running into millions of naira in a microfinance bank. We were on the way to the bank when the police arrested us.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that the gang was arrested with one AK-47 rifle and a double-barrelled gun.
Adegbite, 32, said the AK-47 rifle belonged to a friend who was killed by the police.
He said, “I spent five years in prison and when I returned, I met the widow of one of my friends that was killed by the police. She told me that she was with her husband’s gun and she could release it to me for N300,000. When I heard of the bank robbery, I thought it was an opportunity to make money.”
The third ex-convict, Ademuyiwa, told PUNCH Metro that he got the double-barrelled gun from another inmate.
“When I was about to be released from prison, an inmate told me where he kept it and said I might need it to become a union leader at a motor park. I went to get the gun when Ganiu and Adegbite called me that there was a bank robbery and we could make millions,” he said.
A source said when the police got information that they were planning to rob the microfinance bank, a mole was planted among the suspects, who gave operatives more information until they were rounded up.
The leader of the second set of robbers, Eze, said he spent two years and six months in prison after being caught for burglary in 2014.
The 29-year-old Ebonyi State indigene claimed that government’s clampdown on street hawkers in Ogun State drove him into crime.
He said, “When I came out, I went to my village and spent some time before I returned to a school in Mokola, Ibadan, where I met some other ex-inmates. We were smoking hemp together when some of them said we needed money and suggested that we should go into armed robbery.”
Ramoni, 29, who claimed to be a blacksmith, said he was released at the same time with Eze.
He said, “Since we returned from prison, Eze had been asking me to go with him for different operations, but I refused. He said we should do it because there was no job and we didn’t have money.
“He stood in front of the vehicle and shone his torch. When the driver stopped, we all emerged from our hideouts and attacked the man. We snatched his van, which was loaded with 12 bags of garri.
“We were about selling the van when the police arrested us.”
The third ex-convict in the gang, 28-year-old Ayo, who claimed to be from Delta State, said he had spent over two years in prison before he was released in March 2017.
“I was imprisoned after my generator shop was burgled by some thieves and my customers reported the case to the police. We all met in prison. It was when we came out that we formed our gang,” he added.
The Zonal Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of Police, said operatives of the command received tip-offs on the activities of the gangs, which led to the arrests.
She said, “We recovered weapons from the suspects. The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Ibrahim, has ordered that they should be arraigned at the end of investigation.”Punch