BY IFEANYI OKOLIE
LAGOS — The controversy over the disappearance and subsequent death of a suspected robber, Joseph Jack, from police custody in Lagos, is yet to be put to rest as one of his victims, Obiora Offor, has narrated how Jack and two others robbed him of his tricycle at gun point.
Offor, who resides in Ojodu Berger area of Lagos, also debunked allegations that he was a friend of the suspect.
While narrating how he was robbed of his tricycle, he said: “I used to work to deliver the proceeds daily but I collected the particular cycle that was stolen on hire purchase at the rate of N620,000 and I used to pay N12,000 weekly. I had paid over N200,000, having worked for over three months.
“I used to ply the Ojodu Berger -Ikeja route and from Ikeja, I would then go to Ogba through Oba-Akran Way.
“On that day, April 29, last year, I was in front of Area G Command, Ogba calling for passengers.
“Jack who was wearing an army cap with a bag entered my tricycle. When I got to Grammar School bus stop all the passengers except him alighted and he asked me to take him to Berger bus stop. “On our way he asked how he could get to Boundary in Ajegunle area. Because it was night and I knew he could not get a vehicle to that area, I asked him to go to Ikeja for a vehicle.
“He then asked that I should take him to Ikeja since it was my route. I went to Berger roundabout and called Ikeja passengers so two other people joined us.
“As we proceeded, I discovered that they were friends from their discussion. Whem we got to our park at Ikeja under bridge, Jack then said he had decided to go and sleep with his friend at Ikeja military cantonment and I should carry them to the cantonment that he would pay me.
“I told him I couldn’t go and he said I shouldn’t worry about police harassment and showed me his identity card.
“The other passengers now said they were also going towards Oba Akinjobi way and promised to pay me handsomely.
“I told him that I would collect total of N700 from Berger to Ikeja then to Cantonment which they agreed.
“When we got to Oba Akinjobi, few metres from the Lagos High Court, Jack brought out a pistol from his bag, used it to tap my shoulder, asking if I liked it. One of the boys also brought out a dagger and Jack slapped me on my back and said I must take them to Sabo, Yaba and I obeyed.
“On getting to Yaba, they stopped at a bar and collected the key of my tricycle and all the money I had on me. Jack then gave me N200 to buy bread and egg for him. When I returned they had disappeared with my tricycle.
“I ran into the bar asking the bar attendants if they knew the boys but they said they didn’t know them.
“I quickly ran to the Sabo Police Station and reported the matter and the Police also gave me a place to sleep in their station because I couldn’t go home that night.
“The owner of the tricycle did not believe my story and he insisted I must pay him the balance. It took the intervention of my pastor to save me from arrest.
How he was arrested
“Fortunately, four month after that incident, I was passing around Hotel Bus stop in Berger and I saw people around this same ‘soldier with an army cap’ with the people begging him over what I did not know.
“I confronted him with the theft of my tricycle. He started beating me but people around got the policemen at Ojodu Police division to arrest him.
“It was established at the police station that Jack was a fake army officer and he confessed to snatching my tricycle at gun-point. He was transferred to Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Ikeja.
“SARS operatives made attempts to recover my tricycle from the man he sold it to for just N150,000, but when they got to the man’s place, they discovered that the man died two days earlier.
“The most astonishing aspect of this whole issue is that relatives of this fake soldier who robbed me of my only means of livelihood are claiming that he is my friend. A newspaper also published that I gave him the tricycle voluntarily which was a lie.”
How he died
Meanwhile Jack’s mother, Bose Bajulaye, received the shock of her life penultimate Friday, when she visited SARS headquarters in Ikeja in search of her son. She however slumped when she could not find the name of her son on the list of inmates in the cell.
“She accused the police of killing her son extra-judicially and using his body for rituals. But the Police have responded by saying her son was killed during a police operation when he attempted to escape.
“They explained that Jack was a member of a notorious robbery gang that specialized in using military uniforms and accessories to terrorize members of the public.
“They also said members of his gang were behind the killing of three policemen, including an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Longus Amuzie, and snatched their rifles, when they attacked a bank in Ayobo area of Lagos.
“They also said Jack, who was in custody before that incident, gave the police its first lead as he identified the bandits from a CCTV footage of the attack.
“According to a source, he led policemen to the home of a member of the gang at Igando area of Lagos but he was shot when he attempted to scale the fence.”