By Emma Nnadozie
A gang of vicious armed robbers who swooped on the warehouse of a popular company in Victoria Island, Lagos, carting away goods worth over N1 million met their waterloo recently, after detectives from the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad, Adeniji-Adele, rounded them up.
The 4-man gang reportedly invaded the warehouse belonging to Ekulo Group of Companies at their base— plot 1393, Tiamiyo Street, Victoria Island, carting away various brands of alcoholic beverages (Sparkling Wine) after overpowering the companies security guards.
Police sources said they held the guards hostage with their eyes blindfolded, hands tied behind with synthetic ropes after beating them up mercilessly and dispossessing them of their mobile phones.
It was gathered that after the case was reported to the Federal SARS, detectives led by Inspector Banjoko Olumemimo, swung into action after recovering items of evidential values from the premises of the company and reviewing the CCTV footage of the incident. Suspecting insider complicity , the detectives reportedly extracted useful information and subjected it to scientific analysis which resulted in the tracking and arrest of the leader of the gang known as Dayo Olagunju a.k.a. Uncle D and subsequently, the arrest of the trio: Abiodun, Adeoye and Babatunde. Individual and collective confession led to the arrest of one Alhaja Kudi from whom all the robbed goods were eventually recovered.
One of the security guards attacked by the hoodlums told Crime Guard that while he was on duty on the fateful night, a gang of robbers numbering seven, scaled the company’s perimeter fence and held them hostage.
According to him, at gun point, we were immediately dispossessed of Nokia Asha 201 phone valued at N13,000, another Nokia phone valued at N7000, one HTC phone valued at N18,000 and the sum of N2,000. We were tied with synthetic rope on both legs and shoulder and led to a toilet at the rear and locked up with our heads covered with empty cartons. ‘The hoodlums evidently broke into the warehouse and carted away several cartons of wine beverages. We did not know any of the robbers but we told policemen that we can identify them if seen.’
Another witness, Hassan Shuaibu, also gave detectives a shocking version of his account of the incident. He said that he received a deceptive telephone call from Dayo, a former employee of the company who later turned out to be the leader of the gang and the mastermind of the attack, saying he had a gift for him; that when they met at the company gate, Dayo gave him wine which he refused to drink, suspecting it was a Greek-gift. He cautioned the men on guard at the gate to be vigilant as he suspected Dayo’s visit to be for a purpose. ‘I was therefore, not surprised on discovery
in the course of police investigation that Dayo led the armed robbery gang that attacked our company.’
In his confessional statement, the leader of the gang, Dayo, an iron bender who hails from Ilaro town, Ifo in Ogun State, told Crime Guard that they were not armed with gun during the operation.
He, however, confessed that they used steel irons, knife and ropes to attack and subdue the security guards on duty. He also admitted that he short-changed his accomplices by telling them that the loots were sold for N40, 000 and ended up having a chunk of the proceeds. He further stated that he used money realised from the operation to buy a motorcycle for N10,000, a generating set for N80,000, and used N470,000 to stock his provision store at Meiran, Lagos.
Another suspect, Abiodun Alimi who hails from Akinyele area of Ibadan confessed that he provided the implements while the third suspect, Haruna Alasi, provided the vehicle with which they committed the offence.
He also revealed that the gang converged at Agege, Lagos and agreed to proceed to the company where they operated noting that after the operation, their leader, Dayo cheated them.
Crime Guard gathered that in the course of their investigation, detectives learnt that the leader of the gang, Dayo, worked with the company as a security guard at the warehouse and left voluntarily for undisclosed reasons in 2013. Before he left, he was familiar with the staff both serving and out gone and very conversant with the surrounding terrain within and outside the premises. According to police sources, on June 1st, 2014, Dayo paid an unusual but criminally intended visit to his former colleagues offering them wine laced with stupefying substances. One of the guards, Hassan Shuaibu, being curious of such offer declined partaking in the drink, stepped aside and called his colleagues who were on duty on phone warning them to be wary of such offer as it could be intended to divert attention.
‘ While two of the guards, Barnabas drank the wine, dozed off , Agbo resorted to rolling on a skating board around the premises to remain awake. The alertness of the later deterred Dayo and his gang from carrying out the operation that day hence they came back violently equipped, 16 days later and carried out the nefarious act.’
The gang reportedly fled the scene leaving traceable leads that led to their arrest.
Efforts to speak with the Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of the unit, Chris Ezike were not successful as he was said to have gone out when our reporter visited his office at Adeniji-Adele but a credible source intimated that all the stolen items have been recovered and the suspects would soon be charged to court.