*Informants got N30,000 each; robbers N70,000
By Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—Police have arrested three suspected members of a robbery gang that invaded the Anthony Village home of the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka, last month.
Recall that the bandits also attacked the 81-year-old Publisher with iron rods and other dangerous weapons, at the end of which his mobile phone, electronic gadgets, money and other valuables were stolen.
Although two of the suspects claimed to be from Borno State, while the third said he was a Chadian, police said preliminary investigation revealed that they are all citizens of the Republic of Chad.
The suspects, identified as Musa Atim Abubakar, 32; Abdulrasaq Hassan, 43, and Umar Useni, 46, were arrested in Festac and Ajao Estate in Lagos, and Sango Otta in Ogun State.
A Mitsubishi saloon car, with number plates LSD 337 BQ, which they drove on the day of the robbery was also recovered.
They were said to be on the verge of selling the vehicle at a give-away price and flee to Niger Republic, when they were arrested.
Lagos police boss speaks
Briefing newsmen on their arrest, Lagos State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said: “Since the incident happened, the command deployed all available techniques at its disposal to get the suspects.
“We were able to get three of them, who were interrogated and they have confessed to the crime. We are looking for the fourth man, because Mr. Amuka said they were four men that attacked him.
“The vehicle they used on that day, including a sledge hammer and an iron cutter, were recovered from them.
“They are Chadians and cross country criminals. We are still interrogating them. At the end of our interrogation, we believe we will get more facts, especially their motive, since this attack on Amuka was not the first.”
He was, however, mum on the details of their arrest, explaining that divulging such would jeopardise investigation.
Private guards’ role
To the astonishment of all, the suspects, who were paraded before journalists, revealed that two private guards attached to the premises of the publisher gave their fleeing gang leader, who they identified simply as Gambo, information that there was money in the house.
According to one of them, Useni, who spoke in pidgin English: “I am from Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State. I am not from Chad. I have been living in Satellite Town since 2011. I have worked as a gardener in a school around that area before I met Gambo, our leader.
“Two security men in Baba’s (Amuka) compound brought the information to Gambo. They told Gambo to come with his boys on a Saturday, that Baba brought some money home. One of the guards is an Ibo man, while the other is Hausa. Gambo knows their names, but I don’t.
“On the day we attacked, I met Gambo at Apple Junction, after a telephone conversation, from where we headed to Anthony Village.
“I did not beat Baba. He fell down while he was running. When I saw blood on him, I begged my colleagues not to harm him because he is an old man. Besides, Baba threw an envelope at me when we asked him to give us the money. In it was N300,000.
“After the operation, we drove to a hotel where we shared the money. The security men that brought the business got N30,000 each. Gambo took the money to them on Sunday evening and they told us to go into hiding that policemen were around.”
On his part, Atim Abubakar, who also spoke in pidgin, said: “I was in my house at Sango, when Mohammed (pointing to one of his partners in crime) called me on phone that there was a job we had to execute.
“He said Gambo, our leader, brought the job. They said I should come and meet them at Anthony, from where we drove to the house.
“While Hassan (the driver) waited in the car, three of us went inside. We tied the security men at the gate and went upstairs. We broke the ceiling and made straight for Baba’s apartment, where we met him sleeping.
“Immediately he saw us, he ran. While Umaru and Mohammed went after him, I went straight to the cupboard where I saw some newspapers and N100,000. I also collected two pieces of 20 pounds.
I did not know it was Pound Sterling until Gambo told me. At the end of the operation, we all got N70,000 each.”
I got N30,000—DRIVER
The third suspect, Hassan, who claimed to be a bureau-de-change operator, revealed that he also ran a car hire service in Ajao Estate. He stated that his vehicle was hired and that he did not know that they were going to rob.
After the operation, he said that he drove the suspects to his house at Ajao, where the money was shared, adding that his share was N30,000.