BY DONAL ARJI & ADA ONWUNALI
Some members of a vigilante group recently engaged a gang of suspected armed robbers at Celeniza community in Iba local Government Development Area in Okokomaiko, Lagos, in a gun battle, killing a member of the gang.
Crime Alert was informed that the vigilante members were on their normal routine patrol of the area when they noticed an unusual movement of five men. The group was said to have confronted the men, during which one of the suspected robbers reportedly got infuriated and brought brought out an AK47 assault riffle and fired at a member of the vigilante group identified as Habeeb Jimoh, thereby killing him on the spot. Soon, the area was turned into a war zone as the robbers and vigilante group engaged themselves in a shoot-out. During the cross fire, a member of the armed gang was reportedly gunned down. But before he died, he gave some vital information which later led to the arrest of five members of the gang among whom was a herbalist.
Speaking on how other members of the gang were arrested, head of the vigilante group, Mr S.A. Omotosho said information about their criminal hideout was received from a good Samaritan and they had to promptly act on it.
According to him, “I really want to say a big thank you to God Almighty for the strength to round up other members of the gang that attacked us. On that fateful day, I was with my boys on our normal routine patrol when we noticed a group of five young men walking towards our direction. One of my boys who noticed they carried a bag which was later discovered to contain riffles, stopped them asked that they identified themselves. Instead of doing that, one of them brought out an AK47 gun and fired at our post .
That was when we knew that they were robbers. We promptly responded even though they possessed superior fire power. During the cross fire, one of us was gunned down. Still, we went after them and killed one of them too ,while others escaped with bullet wounds. But we were able to trace and arrest the fleeing members through vital information we got from a commercial bus driver.”
Continuing, Mr. Omotosho said: “The funny story is that, among the gang members that were arrested, one of them is their native doctor who prepared protective charms for them But he told us during interrogation that he never knew the men were armed robbers and that they normally came to him for protective charms.
During interrogation, they gave their names as Moshood Adebowale, 26, Wahab Sherif, 31, Thomas Samuel, 23, Akeem Bolawale, 36, (the native doctor)and Bashiru Gbolawale, 26, who confessed to be the brain behind series of robbery in Celenica community and also Calabar market located in Adaloko, another community in Oto-Awori local development council.
But in another breath, Akeem Bolawale, the ‘voodoo’ man who earlier denied knowledge of the gang’s operation, later admitted to be a member of the gang.He howewver, claimed he had never partaken in any operation with the gang, explaining that his role was to prepare formidable charms for the gang during and after any operation, at the end of which he got paid. he further revealed that the gang’s modus oprandi included digging holes on the road which would force any motorist to slow down on reaching the point, only to be attacked.
The gang he added also operated at traffic jams along the Mile 2 Okokomaiko express way, adding that the last robbery they went for before they met their waterloo was in the house of a man who just returned from the United Kingdom.The suspects, have been handed over to the Police.