By Dayo Johnson, Akure
On November 22,2011 when dare devil armed robbers invaded Akure, the Ondo State capital in the early hours of the day, hell was let loose as the bandits unleashed mayhem in the city, leaving five persons dead in an operation that lasted over one hour. Tongues wagged over the security laxity that reigned that fateful day in the state capital as the hoodlums operated unmolested.
Pandemonium was the order of the day as bank workers, passers-by, civil servants, shop owners and others ran for safety following the ceaseless booming of guns carried by the hoodlums. Security operatives were helpless as they took to their heels.
Raid in the bank
The rampaging bandits gained entry into the bank by blasting the entrance electronic door with dynamite. One of the security guards was the first casualty as his body was dismembered by the dynamite. About twelve of the hoodlums reportedly raided the first generation bank located at the popular Oyemekun road in Akure.
While six of them entered the bank, others manned the premises, shooting indiscriminately to scare away people. In the process, a vulcanizer who was busy with his daily business was hit by a stray bullet. He died instantly. For the period that they raided the bank, the state capital was held hostage.
The visibly rattled Commissioner of Police in the state, Sani Mogaji who later briefed newsmen over the incident vowed to smoke out the suspects from their various hideouts within a short period. To give credence to his vow, three months later, the suspects were arrested from states across the country.
Arrest of suspects
Parading them before newsmen in Akure,the State Commissioner of Police disclosed that one of the robbers said to be an Evangelist, Wale Adelu,coordinated the operation. The Police boss told bewildered reporters that even the planing of the deadly operation took place inside a church in Akure metropolis.
The suspects which include Ikechukwu Maduagwu, Fayemi Albert Olabusuyi, Mukaila Raji and Ropo Adeleye,according to the Police Commissioner, were picked up at their different locations across the country following the arrest of the Evangelist in Akure, the state capital.
Crime Guard was informed that after the operation, the leader of the gang shared only N500,000 to each of the gang members and bolted with the chunk of the loot.
This unexpected development irked other members of the gang who kicked against his unilateral decision to pocket the lion share of the loot. While the police were silent on how they were picked up for security reasons, it was gathered reliably that the Evangelist was arrested following some information made available to the police after which he reportedly “sang” and this led to the apprehension of others at their different hide outs outside the state.
All the suspects confessed to newsmen during interrogation that they took part in the robbery. One of them called Ropo said he was paid N100, 000 for showing them the way of escape through Ikogosi in Ekiti State while another, Ikechuwkwu said his job was only to park the money into a jute box (Ghana-Must-Go)during the robbery.
The highlight of the parade was a practical demonstration of how they carried out the operation by the bandits when they were taken to the bank by the police.
Meanwhile,the police equally paraded three suspected members of an armed robbery gang that raided the Ifon branch of an old generation bank on September 27 last year where two persons, a civilian and a police inspector were killed during the operation. The suspects include; Chima Osuji, Chimezie Michael and Lucky Sunday.
Herbalist, others in police net
The Police Chief said that in the course of their investigations, detectives uncovered the identity of one Augustine Olumogwe who was the herbalist of the gang and he has confessed to the crime.”
Civil Defense record success too
In another development, the state Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps(NSCDC), has apprehended three suspected dealers in illegal oil bunkering. A statement from the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Balogun Ahmed Kayode said they were arrested in Ondo town in a DAF tanker truck with registration number XS 613 JJJ laden with 15,000 litres of adulterated Automobile Gas Oil (AGO).
Kayode gave the names of the suspects as Ahmed Kabiru Wale, Ojeniyi Michael and Folagbade Tayo. He said that six other accomplices were later arrested when they came to the Command headquarters to bribe the police to release the culprits from the custody.