By ALBERT AKPOR
The Lagos state Police command is presently enmeshed in irreconcilable controversy following the release from police custody of an alleged notorious armed robbery suspect. The suspect simply identified as Monday alias Blacky was reportedly arrested by a team of anti-robbery squad attached to Pedro Division led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO).
Crime Alert scooped that the suspect Blacky, one Ahmed (leader of the gang) and other members of the notorious robbery gang belonged to a faction of the National Union Road Transport Worker (NURTW) before taking to robbery. They have reportedly laid siege to Pedro, Alada, Shomolu, Bariga and environs for some time now.
It was told that the arrest of Blacky followed a tip-off after a bloody clash between the police and members of the gang late last month leading to the death of five members of the gang. The DPO, Pedro station, a Superintendent of Police (SP), sources hinted, did a discrete investigation and arrested the suspect in a hideout with arms and ammunition.
Police sources said the story took another dimension few hours later when another top officer in the Area ‘H’ Command allegedly called for the transfer of the suspect and the exhibits to his office for ‘an in-depth’ investigation, to the consternation of the DPO who it was gathered, passionately pleaded to be allowed to personally investigate the matter to a logical conclusion before the transfer of the case file.
Crime Alert gathered that the DPO was shocked that the following day, the suspect was released while the arms and ammunition were transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja. Angered by the action of his superior officer, the DPO, reportedly damned the consequences, went after the suspect, re-arrested and detained him.
But again, the suspect got his freedom without the consent of the DPO. Meanwhile, the Investigating Police Officer IPO (names withheld) at the SARS, Ikeja was said to have expressed shock over the power play between the Superior Police Officers (SUPOLs) especially in a matter concerning a generally acclaimed notorious armed robbery suspect.
He (IPO) was quoted as saying, “This kind of thing will not help us in the fight against crime in this state. How can a known notorious armed robber be arrested and asked to go because he is related to one big oga? Those ones we normally arrest and prosecute, is it because they do not have big man somewhere to make calls for their release?
This is the first time, I am receiving exhibits without the suspect and I wonder the courage, especially amongst us, the rank and file to continue this fight against crime and criminals in this state.”
Crime Alert can authoritatively reveal further that the said Ahmed who was the leader of the notorious gang was also arrested with arms and ammunition by a team of anti-robbery squad also attached to Ikeja led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police ASP (names withheld) but was released on self-recognition to the consternation of both the ASP and the then Officer- in- Charge (OC) SARS Ikeja.
It was gathered that when the suspect Ahmed was arrested in a hideout, he wittingly told the ASP to allow him go if he still likes his job.
While on their way to the command headquarters, a commissioner of police in one of the Western States(names withheld) reportedly called for Ahmed’s release but the ASP was said to have ignored the call and vowed to get to the root of matter why an armed robbery suspect, caught with arms and ammunition could be so shielded by serving senior police officers.
Meanwhile, the said CP had called the then CP Lagos even before the ASP, his team and the suspect got to the office and he (CP Lagos then) personally came down stairs, walked to anti-robbery unit and pleaded with both the then OC SARS and the ASP to see reason with him why the suspect should be allowed to go on bail immediately. Suspect Ahmed who is presently on the run was also asked to go on self recognition if nobody came for his bail.