By Evelyn Usman
THEY are seven in number, of different ages, heights, complexion and from different states of the federation. But they have one thing in common: robbery! The seven-man robbery gang specialized in attacking bank customers who had gone to withdraw money in Festac Town area of Lagos.

On September 30, 2011, two members of the gang stationed their operational motorcycle in front of one of the second generation banks on Second Avenue. Unfortunately, an unsuspecting customer, later discovered to be an accountant from one of the media houses around the area, came out of the bank and made straight for her chauffeur-driven car.

But barely had she left the bank than the gang struck by intercepting the vehicle. They reportedly pointed a gun at the fear-stricken accountant, ordering her to bring the withdrawn money. They ended up snatching N3.8 million from her after which they mounted their motorbike and zoomed off.

Opposite direction

Unfortunately for them, a police patrol team attached to Festac division was coming from the opposite direction. On sighting the policemen, the accountant’s driver reportedly summoned courage by giving the robbers a hot pursuit.

In the process, he succeeded in hitting the motorbike, thereby landing both robbers on the ground, with the stolen money. Their pistol dropped on the floor also. Attempt by one of the robbers to pick the pistol and open fire at the approaching team of policemen failed.

The Police team which was led by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Usman Ndababo succeeded in shooting one of the robbers on the leg after which all of them were arrested.

In this interview with Crime Alert, the suspects confessed that they have been involved in several robberies outside and within Festac until they met their waterloo.

One of the robbery suspects who gave his name as Orji Kalu said: “I am  from Abia State. I started robbing four years ago. But my parents and family did not know I am into robbery. I simply told them I was into business. What we do is to station our motorcycles in front of any bank, waiting for anyone who came to withdraw money.

Nobody gives us information about our victims. For the men, we usually watch closely and if any part of their cloth is bulky, we will just pull up to him and demand that he gave us the money.

“But for the women, it is a bit difficult to ascertain whether they went to withdraw money because of the handbags they usually carry. But if we see them handling their bags with utmost care, we would then conclude that they withdrew money.

For those who bring vehicles to the bank, we simply identify them if, immediately after  coming out, they make straight for their car booths. There are times we miscalculate and at the end, realized some o f the victims only went to deposit or went for other transactions”

Asked why he did not stop before now, he replied: “Madam, it was out of greed. I actually contemplated on quitting at the end of this month and travel out of the country. It is not as if I have not made some money from it. I did and I used them to buy commercial buses that are plying different routes.

All I was looking for was just money to travel. But I regret everything. I swear.”

His partner in crime, Chijioke Aniche, a native of Arondiziogu area of Okigwe, Imo State, said he usually came from Port-harcourt whenever the gang wanted to strike. He could barely speak but managed to mutter: “I wish I had not brought this upon myself.”

With the arrest of these suspects and the initial arrest of other suspected members of the gang, Crime Alert gathered that Festac division had wiped out the entire gang. Recovered from the gang, according to Police sources, was an English-made barretta pistol,while the recovered money was reportedly handed over to the victim.

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