By Joseph Undu
A 24 –year- old suspected armed robber, Chibizor Ugwu, alleged to have led the gang that robbed Basket Mouth, a top Nigerian comedian, in his house at Lekki area of Lagos, recently, has narrated how his gang taunted the popular comedian before dispossessing him of his money and phones.
The suspect who was arrested alongside a 21- year- old painter, Chiemezue Joseph, the younger brother to a member of the gang that participated in the Basket Mouth operation said this was his third operation in the state and the first with Joseph who was arrested with him on an aborted robbery operation the very day they came to Lagos from Anambra state.
On transit operation
In a chat with Crime Alert, Ugwu who claimed to be an Ex- Internet fraudster said as a secondary school certificate holder, he has no other occupation and that he lives in Anambra state but only comes to Lagos for robbery operations. “I have gotten N3 million from one robbery operation in Ladipo area of Lagos. We were six in number and we made a total of N6 million plus but I hit N 2million plus on my own without my gang’s knowledge. My share was N.1.2 million,” he said.
Identity of victim unknown
On why they robbed Basket Mouth, he said, they didn’t know they were robbing Basket Mouth, it was a coincidence. According to him, “we went to that house to vandalize cars. I cut the protector in the kitchen window to gain entrance into the house. The security guard was sleeping at the gate when we entered the house and he was still sleeping when we left. We didn’t have any arrangement with him because we did not see him.
When we got there, we discovered that it was Basket Mouth’s house and my friend said this man would have money. Let us go in. I knocked at his door and he opened it for us. We thought he would have something good to offer us because he is a celebrity. We collected his phones and $200. We pitied him and didn’t touch him because he is a celebrity. I like him and his jokes amuse me a lot. But, we believe that he is better than us so he should have something for us. I felt bad robbing a celebrity like Basket Mouth now that I have been arrested.
He pleaded with us not to harm him
“We didn’t plan for it at all. At a point, I wanted us to retreat when we realized it but my friends insisted that we should go on with the operation. He pleaded with us that we should not harm him and I assured him that we would not hurt him but he should co-operate with us, that he is better than us; he should just give us money. After everything, I advised him to use his experience to crack a joke to recoup the one he had given us. He was just smiling when the operation was going on. I went on that operation with one Ikechukwu and Ogwu. I met Ogwu in Lagos but Ikechukwu was my childhood friend. We met in Anambra. He is the elder brother to Joseph whom I met in the village.
Gang members on the run
“I do not know their whereabouts now because they heard that I was arrested. I believe they are on the run now. Joseph was not with us during that operation. I had gone on operation with him just once, the one that led to our arrest. He was aware that I am an armed robber. His elder brother participated in the Basket Mouth Operation and he knew about it. I have not given him any money because the day we came back to Lagos was the day we were arrested.”
How I was lured into crime
Joseph who was arrested with Ugwu said he was not aware that he ( Ugwu) was an armed robber. According to him, “I met him in Abagana, Anambra state with his car at the mechanic shop and I begged him to allow me follow him to Lagos and do any work I find there and he agreed. I knew him as a big boy in the area. He owns a car and also does buy drinks for boys whenever he comes around. That was how I followed him to Lagos. When we got to Lagos in the midnight, he gave me his big bag to carry and he carried his two guns and we went to Ilasamaja. Immediately I crossed to the other street, the police arrested me. I have never robbed before.“
Police parade suspects
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Fatai Owoseni, while parading the suspects before newsmen said, they were arrested in the course of committing another robbery. According to him, “The suspects had confessed that they had carried out that operation based on information given to them by one of their members in Lagos. Some of the mobile phones carted away from Basket Mouth had been recovered as the police also collected from them, two berretta pistols, two AK47 rifles and two locally made pistols with a Mercedes Benz 4 car.