BY Ifeanyi Okolie
LAGOS — Three men, Nsikak Akpan, 26; Friday Otu, 27 and Nsidibe Akpan, 24, who were arrested recently by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Ikeja, Lagos, for robbery, said it was poverty that drove them into robbery.
The bandits, arrested penultimate Thursday when they attempted to rob a bank customer of N18 million at Iyana Isolo, Daleko area of Lagos, said their inability to secure good jobs drove them into robbery.
The suspects met their waterloo when SARS operatives, led by SP Abba Kyari, received an intelligence report on their activities and rounded them up at Daleko axis of Iyana Isolo in an unregistered Toyota Camry car.
One AK-47 rifle with serial number AE-17-4293, belonging to a policeman attached to Area ‘B’ Command, Apapa, was recovered from a brown coloured bag found in the vehicle, while an AK-47 magazine loaded with 30 rounds of live ammunition, with an additional 35 pieces of 7mm ammunition for an English double barrel gun and 20 live cartridges were also recovered.
A source, who spoke with Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, said the AK-47 rifle was snatched from a policeman on duty at Apapa area of Lagos.
The source said the policeman was attacked January this year by the bandits who snatched his rifle.
The source also said the police became aware of the bandits’ activities when they attacked a popular beer distribution outlet along Old Ojo Road, Agboju, Amuwo and carted away a large sum of money before escaping in a Sports Utility Vehicle, SUV, found in the premises.
Lack of job led us into robbery
Meanwhile, the suspects, during an interview, told Vanguard that their inability to secure jobs led them into robbery.
Friday Otu, who narrated how he became a robber said: “I was working in an aluminium factory along Oshodi-Apapa expressway and was paid between N18,000 and N27,000 monthly.
“But I was sacked after sustaining an injury in the factory and the owners did not show any concern. They sent me off when I could not continue working due to the injury and paid me off with part of my salary. I managed to treat my self.
“One evening while walking along Boundary Bus Stop in Ajegunle with my friend, Nsikak Akpan, we found a bag containing English double barrel gun and 20 live cartridges. We picked it. Not knowing what to do with it, we kept it in our house.
“One evening, last November, I went to a night club along Tolu Road to drink and I met Akpan, who is my childhood friend. He asked what I was doing and I told him I had lost my job and he also said he lost his job as a casual worker at Flour Mills.
“During our discussion I told him about the gun and that I did not know what to do with it. He said he would help me out and we parted ways.
Old Ojo Road operation
“In January, this year, he called me and said he had a job for us. When I asked him what it was, he said a friend of his wanted us to rob a place where they sell drinks along Old Ojo Road.
“He told us that his friend had perfected a plan, that we would have to strike at a time when there would be enough money in the place.
“Before then, I had also met one other guy, T-Boy, who said he had an AK-47 rifle for sale. So, when Akpan brought this job, I contacted him and he gave me the rifle for N200,000, which I promised to pay at the end of the operation.
“We struck at the place during evening hours on two motorcycles and I discovered that their salesmen were just remitting their sales for the day.
“We rounded everyone up. I held the double barrel gun and Nsikak was with the AK-47 rifle. Akpan went about the place collecting the mony and we escaped in an Xterra SUV we found in the compound.
We realised N800,000
“At the end, we realised N800,000 and I got N150,000 as my share, while Nsikak and Akpan got same amount. We gave N200,000 to T-Boy and the motorcycle guys and the informant got N150,000.
“I spent my share of the loot on clothes and food items. I gave part of it to my girlfriend. I was comfortable with the whole operation because it was easy and we didn’t fire a shot.
How we were arrested
“Four days after that operation, Akpan got information of a Diamond Bank customer who wanted to withdraw N18 million from the bank’s Ilasamaja branch. We went to the scene without knowing that the police were on ground. Before we got to the bank, they apprehended us.
“I regret getting myself into this mess but what will a young man who has no job do?”