By VICTOR APKA- FRESH
Four members of a notorious armed robbery gang which specialized in snatching motor-bikes popularly called Okada from their owners are currently telling the police the story of their lives and their involvement in the devilish way of eking a living. Reports say the gang had operated in Ketu/ Alapere for several years without being caught. But like the age long aphorism which says, “everyday for the thief, one day for the owner”, four of them were recently rounded up after an operation where they were said to be relaxing; having shared their loot.
Date was May 11, 2011 and time was about 2.45pm. According to eyewitnesses, the Okada robbers met their waterloo in their hideout near a worship center following a tip -off on their whereabout. It was said that a vigilante group keeping watch over the area was chasing the kingpin of the gang identified as Michael who attempted removing a motorbike parked in front of a residential area. The dare-devil however, succeeded in escaping, but his gang members were not so lucky as they were rounded up.
The suspects who were paraded before newsmen gave their respective names as; Seyi John, 20, Wasiu Adeyemi, 19, a secondary school leaver from Ajayi Crawther Secondary school, Ibrahim Buhari, 20, and Michael Gbadamosi, 20, an aluminum fabricator. Reports say the suspects had just returned from a robbery operation in Bariga and were giving account of their escapade when the member of the vigilante group, having effortlessly chased the leader of the gang, met them in a suspicious position and rounded them up. They later confessed knowing Michael and admitted that they all belong to the same gang. They were promptly handed over to the police where they made confessional statements of having operated for the past 15 years in the area. When a search was conducted in their hideout, one locally- made pistol cut to size and five live cartridges were recovered.
Parading the suspects, Police Public Relations Officer, Samuel Jinadu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DPS), corroborated that the suspects have been in the business of snatching motor cycles from their owners for many years and have been operating from their base in Ogijo, Ogun state. He said luck ran against them following which they were arrested recently.
The police spokesman therefore, assured that detectives have already launched a manhunt for the fleeing gang leader stressing that the police have been on the trail of the gang for some time now. According to him, “when the suspects were rounded up, a call was put through to the the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Alapere Division, Superintendent of Police (SP) Okosun Anthony Odion and he immediately raced to the scene where the suspects were handed over to him.
The suspects who saw no need lying confessed that what they normally do after their operation was to sell the Okadas at give -away price to ready buyers. They gave the name of one of their criminal receivers as Jaiyesimi who they claimed resides in Ogijo town, Ogun state.
Another suspect who identified himself as Seyi John, in his confession said, “sometimes when we come back from operation, I get a token sum of ten thousand Naira and sometimes, five thousand depending on the outcome of the operation”.
Another member of the gang, Michael Gbadamosi, blamed poverty for his involvement in the criminal act. He claimed to have lost his father at a tender age and does not know the whereabout of his mother. According to him, he had to join the notorious gang as a last resort to eke a living. Michael who presently lives with his unnamed friend also in Ogijo said that his friend does not know that he indulges in criminal acts and would be disappointed if he finds out .