By Esther Onyegbula
Recently, four daring bandits carried their luck too far when they struck at the ever-busy Federal Highway Barracks in Ikeja, Lagos. Interestingly, they carried out the operation in an area where both policemen and other security agents throng heavily. The popular but dreaded Area F, police command is also located close to the barracks. This did not however, deter the dare-devils from waylaying their victim and robbing him of his precious valuables which included; Laptop, I-phone 4, two blackberries, PSP game, two wristwatches and N12, 000 at gun point.
The suspects identified as; Ismalia Oladusu, 29, Shonde Azeez, 28, Salami Ahmed, 27, Sunday Samuel, 27, Monday Audu,37 and Gbenga Odunuga, 49,were arrested after one of the phones they stole was tracked to an innocent buyer who eventually led detectives to the leader of the gang called Ismaila.
During preliminary interrogation, the suspects who specialised in terrorising residents in Agege, Oshodi, Oko-Oba and Berger confessed to have participated in the operation and revealed that they carried out several robbery operations within Lagos and its environs.
Confessing to the crime, Ismalia Oladusu, from Ikirun Town in Osun state, said “Before I was arrested, I worked at Ikeja local government as one of the revenue collectors. Daily, I made between N700 to N950 from the sale of tickets to commercial motorcyclists. I went into robbery after government placed a ban on the movement of commercial motorcycles in some areas in Lagos.
I switched to robbery. I am married and I have a daughter. I went into robbery in 2013. The gun I use for robbery operations was given to me by one Orji who is late now. Any time he gave me the gun for any operation, I gave him returns of N10, 000 after the operation. I returned the gun to him before he died. I reside at no 20, Idowu street, Okoba area in Agege.
“I regret participating in the robbery operation that actually led to my arrest. One of the barrack boys called Zamandi, invited me to rob the victim. At about 6am while the victim was about to leave for work, we ambushed him in front of his house and stole all his valuables. I sold one of the phones to Sherrif for N22,000. I was arrested around Oko-Oba area after Sherrif was tracked with the stolen phone.
We have participated in several robbery operations. The highest money I made from robbery was N230, 000 after the sale of a stolen vehicle. After I sold the stolen vehicle, I gave each member who participated in the operation N70, 000. “We stole a vehicle in Ikeja, a Toyota Camry which we sold for N230, 000. We also stole a Mercedes Benz along Berger Express way which we sold to one Mr Monday.
He promised to pay but he is yet to pay. Shonde Azeez, Salami Ahmed, Sunday Samuel and Monday Audu are members of our gang. They also have their own gangs.” In his defence, Shonde Azeez, from Ogun State, said “I am not a member of his robbery gang. I knew Ismalia through street fighting. We had a misunderstanding. I knew him as an armed robber.
After I dropped out from school, I worked as a bar attendant in a hotel. I participated in a robbery operation with one of my friends called Ola and Sunday Samuel. All we do is steal phones. I have never snatched vehicles. I dropped out of Olabisi Olabanjo University consult in 2008, where I was studying mass communication.” Another suspect, Sunday Samuel (aka DJ simple), from Ekiti state said; “I am a Disk Jockey and I am also an electrician.
I was arrested because I am homeless and was squatting with Shonde Azeez. We specialised in stealing phones from people who come to patronise prostitutes in the brothel located in Okoba area.” His colleague, Salami Ahmed also stated; “I am from Oyo state. I was born in Lagos state. I reside at no 1, Musuliu street in Agege. When Ismalia was arrested, he said I was part of his gang, which is not true.
Members of my gang have been killed. They were killed during a robbery operation in August 2013, in Ayobo. They were all lynched to death. Micheal, the armourer of our gang is currently at large.” A member of the gang, Monday Paul from Kogi also said; “I am a car dealer. I sell both fairly used and stolen cars. I also help people sell cars and make commissions. I was arrested because some time ago, Ismalia brought a used car to me to help him sell.
it was a Toyota Camry. He told me that his friend wanted to sell a car. So, I called Mr Gbenga who eventually bought the vehicle, he paid N250, 000 and I was given N15, 000 as commission. Initially, I didn’t know the vehicle was stolen. After I sold it to Mr Gbenga, I realised that it was a stolen vehicle. Later, he brought a Mercedes Benz SUV which I sold for N650, 000 to another buyer called Mustapha, but I have not given Ismaila the proceeds from the sale of the vehicle.
I knew Ismaila at the Fela Shrine. I also sold a Toyota Camry to one Jerome for N720, 000. Jerome sold the car to a church (names withheld).” Gbenga Odunuga, another member of the gang stated also; “I am a panel-beater with workshop around first-gate in Agidingbi, Ikeja. I was celebrating the naming ceremony of my child when I received a call from Monday that someone wanted to sell a vehicle.
I told him that I didn’t go to shop because I was celebrating my child’s naming ceremony. After much persuasion, I told him to meet me at a UBA branch with the vehicle so that I could inspect it and determine it’s state. They drove the vehicle to the location. After thoroughly inspecting the vehicle, we settled for N250, 000 after bargaining. I withdrew N200, 000 which I paid them that same day.
The next day, I paid them the balance. After fixing the vehicle, I sold it to a customer for N400, 000. This was about four years ago. I was surprised when I saw police officers in my workshop with Ismaila to arrest me.”