Suspects abandon Italy, China to lead robbery gang in Lagos
by Olaleye Aluko
The Lagos State Police Command on Tuesday paraded seven suspected members of an armed robbery gang, two of whom confessed to have travelled from Italy and China to lead the gang in Lagos.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the gang members were arrested on Saturday, September 20, in the Ebute Meta, Lagos while they were preparing for an operation.
Our correspondent gathered that the suspects - Joel Eghon, Jude Dike, Ifeanyi Onwegbuchi, Solomon Igwe, Emmanuel Ifeanyi, Ejike Emegwo and Leonard Afoaku - were apprehended with a Toyota Hiace which they had earlier snatched along the Ibadan-Ife Expressway.
According to the police, the bus contained Volkswagen engines, female bags, shoes and motor gear oil, which had been recovered.
Speaking with PUNCH Metro, the Italian returnee, 55-year-old Dike, said he had spent eight years in Italy trying to make ends meet, but returned to Nigeria about three years ago to join the gang.
Dike, who hails from Orlu, Imo State, said he supervised the sale of all the goods stolen by the gang.
Grey-haired Dike said, "I have my stores on Ashogbon Street, Isale Eko, Idumota in Lagos. Before coming to Lagos, I was in Italy for eight years. I was doing drugs runs for many dealers. I came back to Lagos three years ago, where I met Emegwo. We were staying together in Idumota. He was the one who introduced me to the gang.
"When they go on operations, they drop the goods they snatch in my store. I sell them for the gang and share the money out after removing my own gains. When some cosmetics were stolen, my gain was N800,000. On another occasion, my gain was N600,000."
Dike added that he had been with the gang for about three years.
"At a point, I told them I wanted to quit because I knew I was treading a wrong path, but they threatened to implicate me and I continued," he added.
For 31-year-old Emegwo, he was working as keeper of a warehouse in Beijing, China and had to leave the country due to poor payment.
He said, "I returned to Nigeria in August 2013. I was working in Beijing, China, in a warehouse. China was not easy. I was not well paid. I came back because my papers were about to expire and I did not want immigration problems.
"I followed them for this particular operation because my wife needed money. She is carrying a still born and we need to pay for an operation. Unfortunately, we had not sold the goods before we were arrested."
The police revealed that the mode of operation of the gang was to pose as security officials on the highway and flag down targeted drivers for "stop-and-search". In the process, the suspected robbers would attack their victims.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Cornelius Aderanti, said nine rounds of 9mm ammunition, three locally-made pistols and 33 live cartridges were recovered from the gang. He added that the police would continue to fight crimes in the state.
He said, "When I got information about the activities of this gang, I instructed the Special Anti-Robbery Squad team, led by Abba Kyari, to go after the suspects. They have all confessed to several robberies in Lagos, Osun and Oyo states.
"The police in Lagos are going to continue to hunt down criminals and protect lives and property. The suspects will be made to face the full wrath of the law."