By Ifeanyi Okolie
Trans-state goat thieves have said goats find white beans irresistible, making it easy for them to steal up to 20 goats per operation.
The five-man syndicate, which specialised in stealing goats across remote towns and villages in Lagos and other South-West states, was busted by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT.
The suspects, who were identified as Adeyemi, Oladimeji, Ayodele, Kunle and Mohammed, were arrested after they stole three goats at Sango area of Ogun State.
Police sources said the suspects were arrested when IRT operatives, led by ACP Abba Kyari, received an intelligence reports on the syndicate’s activities and swooped on the members and recovered the gang’s operational locally-made pistol and three goats.
When Vanguard interviewed the suspects, 32-year-old Ayodele, who was described as leader of the syndicate, disclosed that he had been in the business of stealing goats in the last seven years.
The secondary school dropout noted that members of his gang had stolen goats from Oshogbo, Osun State, Oyo Town and Ilorin, Kwara State.
According to him, “whenever we attack Oshogbo, we use to steal between 19 and 20 goats in an operation. We usually lure the goats with white beans, which we would pour on the ground. The goats like eating white beans.
“After stealing them, we will seal up their mounts with tapes so that their bleating will not be heard by the villagers. On several occasions, we have had encounter with vigilante men and they use to shoot at us.
“We also have a locally-made gun which we use to scare the vigilante men away. Our last operation was Manoba area of Oshogbo, where we stole 19 goats. But we had an encounter with some vigilante men and there was a shootout. We managed to escape back to Lagos State.
“We sold the goats to our buyer, known as Kazeem, who normally pay N7,000 for each goat and he resells the goats to people who sell Assu.”
‘We operate at 5a.m.’
Another suspect, Oladimeji, told Vanguard that the he and members of the gang had also stolen goats from places like Ojodu, Ibafo, Agbado Sango in Lagos and Ogun State, disclosing that his gang normally moved by 5a.m., while the goats are looking for food on the road side.
He added: “We used to steal the goats early in the morning, while we patrol these areas and we normally give them white beans.
“When we steal them we will take them to one of our buyers known as Iyabisola, who bought our operational vehicle.”