By Evelyn Usman
Twenty seven year-old James Imoha,an Ordinary national Diploma holder from Auchi Polytechnic, Delta State, had nursed the ambition of going back for his Higher National Diploma in same school. But his ambition was being hampered by lack of funds. Determined to realise this dream, he left his home town in Agenegbode, Etsako East Local Government area of Edo State, for Lagos five months ago, in search of greener pasture. But as you read this piece, James is being detained at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Ikeja, over an alleged robbery case.
James and eight suspected members of his gang allegedly stormed May and Baker
Pharmaceutical company at Oba Akran, Ikeja two weeks ago and were at the verge of loading a truck with cartoons of drugs when operatives of SARS swooped on them.
However, in this interview with Crime Guard, James burst into tears, insisting he was deceived by members of the gang into joining them. He further disclosed that his desire to further his education and also feed for that week made him join them that night.
Hear him: “ I swear, I never knew they were going to rob that night. I was made to understand that they were being hired to load a truck at the end of which they would be paid. I was already sleeping that night in a friend’s house when Innocent (one of the suspects) visited him. He informed me there was a job and when I asked what kind of job , he said it was to load some cartoons into a truck.
I became interested because it would be an instant payment. I asked how much would be paid at the end and he said N1000 or N2000 depending on the quantity one was able to load. I complained that it was late (10pm), but Innocent said this is Lagos where business was done anytime. Reluctantly, I got up and decided to follow him, with the hope to earn some amount for that week. Quickly, I calculated that it would buy me three square meals for one week because I spend N100 per meal or less, particular when I have to drink ‘’garri’’ with groundnut or coconut.
Too late to turn back
“When I got to the place with Innocent and Okogie, I noticed from the way they were acting that the business was not genuine afterall. But I could not back out because I could not locate my way back home. But innocent assured me all was well and I went about loading the truck with the cartoons of drugs. I also noticed from the way they were whispering to each other that they could be stealing the drugs and I opted to retreat at that point. But as I attempted to leave the company’s gate, there was sporadic shootings and I concluded that was the end of my sojourn on earth. I just laid flat on my tummy with my hands raised up, without looking up. The next thing I knew was that I was arrested and brought here.”
Are you sure I will leave this place alive? “, he asked this writer in tears. Continuing,he said, “my desire to further my studies brought me to Lagos. My intention was to lay my hands on any genuine business and save for my HND. Had I known things would turn out this way, I would have remained in the village until when God will answer my prayer. As I speak, my relatives are not aware I have been arrested. The news will kill my ailing mother. Sister, please just pray for me”, he said , burying his face in both palms.
May and Baker pharmaceutical is located in a complex which also housed five other companies,with each having its own private guards. In order to have free access in and out of the complex, the robbery suspects were said to have injected sleeping tablets into some packs of fruit juice which they gave to some of the guards who allegedly connived with them. One of the guards, as gathered, resumed on the D-day with the injected fruit juice, informing his colleagues that he was celebrating his birthday. Delighted at the news, other unsuspecting guards joyfully reached out for the drugged juice. While some reportedly drank, others, as gathered, kept theirs with the hope of taking it the next morning before going home.