By Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
At Oyo State Police Command headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan, it was a harvest of suspected criminals as it paraded suspects numbering 18. Among them were suspected members of two rival cult groups, Aye and Eye.
Though they were always at war, this time, crime allegedly endeared them to one another as they claimed to have jointly participated in several robbery operations.
While speaking with Sunday Vanguard, the suspects confessed to the robbery operations they organized together.
One of them, Taye Shittu, who used mask to cover his face, said he belonged to one of the cult groups and armed robbery gang which had carried out several operations in the South-West.
When asked what a rifle was doing in his possession, he said, “I gave the rifle to this my friend, Olorunkemi, and the police arrested me. I brought the gun from Lagos State. I always use the gun whenever there was clash between our cult groups, Aye and Eye. After using the gun to fight cult battle, we used it to rob at Mowe- Ibafo area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. We (pointing to fellow suspects) have robbed several times. I shoot but I have never killed anybody and I have never been imprisoned. I just fire gunshots into the air to scare our robbery victims. I have been smoking Indian hemp since I was 18 years old”.
Though he said it was the first time he robbed in Oyo State, when a policeman who had interrogated him confronted him, he said he had been involved in robbery operations in Ibadan, Lagos, Molete, Challenge and Olodo.
“We usually steal phones, laptops, money and we sell the phones at Sabo area of Ibadan and other places. I was a commercial tricycle operator”, the suspect said.
According to him, he used charms during robbery operations for protection. “I was nicknamed state machine by people not because I am notorious. My friends just gave me the name. I live at Badagry, Lagos. I am a cult member and I belong to Aye”, Shittu added.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Abiodun Odude, alleged that Shittu belonged to a gang of three members responsible for the spate of robbery in some parts of Ogun and Oyo states. The gang, according to Odude, had successfully attacked residents of Sanda community, Molete and robbed them of their valuable property. A member of the gang was, however, arrested while fleeing from the scene and a cut-to-size barrel gun was recovered from him. Investigation by the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad led to the arrest of two other members of the gang .
Also paraded was a woman, Alimat Kemi Mustapha, who was alleged to have impersonated by parading herself as a police inspector. The CP said the suspect was arrested in police uniform with an inspector rank by the Owode-Ogbomoso police division on December 15 after she allegedly fraudulently bought electronics worth N6, 000 from one Vincent Nwachi at a shop located at Takie Isale area of Ogbomoso with an assurance that she would pay through money transfer.
“Investigation revealed that the suspect was dismissed in 2007 but she did not return police kits in her possession. The suspect, before her arrest, had been using the police uniform to obtain goods and services from unsuspecting innocent members of the public, “ Odude said.
Employee accused of stealing six trucks, two cars
Meanwhile, following a petition by the Chief Executive Officer of Wang Shou Bo, a Chinese company, that six trucks and two cars were stolen from the company, police detectives arrested three suspects, Olaronbi Saheed, Abdulkareem Yusuf and Ibrahim Babankulu, all employees of the company. The trucks were said to have been sold in Kaduna for N20m while one of the cars was given to a yet-to-be identified pastor in Abuja. The trucks and the two cars were recovered by the police.