Vigilante group, OPC supply arms to us
By Evelyn Usman
Residents of Agboru community in Lagos state, were jostled from sleep on January 13, 2019 by an unusual sound, which turned out to be from robbers numbering over 10.
At the end of the house-to-house operation, 20 residents were left in the pool of their blood, with some of them having their wrists and fingers chopped off, while others were inflicted with matchet cuts on parts of their bodies.
But the good news is that nine suspected members of the robbery gang that carried out the operation have been arrested by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT Lagos, months after the attack.
Crime Guard gathered that one of the stolen phones was traced to a suspected member of the gang, Toyin Adewale, who was subsequently arrested. His confessional statement led to the arrest of others, while two others were said to be on the run.
Suspected leader of the gang, Kunle Akerele, popularly known as Kunle Poly, said victims’ fingers and wrists were chopped off because they could not offer them reasonable money and good phones.
He disclosed that one of their male victims had his three fingers chopped off during the operation, in a bid to remove the gold ring from one of them.
According to 29-year-old Akerele, “My friend, Korede introduced other members of the gang to me. We have been operating at Agege, Abule Egba and Iyana Ipaja areas and we specialised in house- to -house raiding. My role was to give instruction on who should do what. We were not wicked when we started but victims made us to be hardened because they always lied to us that they had no money whenever we went for operation. Most times we saw reasons with them and left because we know the situation of things in the country. Even when we told them to give us their phones they would hand over small NOKIA phones and we would later discover they were deceiving us”.
He disclosed that the new method of chopping off victims’ wrists and fingers was introduced to force victims to release money to the gang.
He said, “One day, my second in command Tunde, suggested we should start teaching our victims a lesson by cutting off anyone’s wrist who claimed not to have money. We acquired new cutlasses and invaded some houses at Aboru in January, because we were cash trapped. “We chose to visit that particular street because one of us, Ayuba Arese, who lives in the same area , said the residents were rich. But we were surprised that each apartment we entered, they would bring small NOKIA phones as if they planned it. In one of the buildings, a man who had two cars parked claimed he had no money and also brought out a small phone.
“Out of annoyance, Tunde told him to pull off the expensive wedding ring on his finger. He said it was difficult to remove and was struggling to pull it off. Tunde ordered him to place his finger on the table, when he did, he cut off his three fingers with a cutlass and collected the ring. Immediately his wife saw what happened, she quickly removed hers.
“Tunde did similar thing to other victims. For those who claimed they didn’t have money in the house, he chopped off their wrists . About 20 of them were affected”.
On his part, Adewale, the first suspect who was arrested disclosed that his role was to sell the old stolen phones between N5000, N10,000 and N20,000, depending on the grade.
Another suspected member of the gang disclosed that his role was to link the gang to a member of a vigilante group and Odua Peoples Congress, OPC who supplied them with arms.
At the end of each operation, he said he received between N3, 000 and N4, 000 from the gang.
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Zubairu Muazu, who paraded the suspects at the command headquarters, Ikeja, said the suspects would be charged to court at the end of investigation, adding that efforts were still on to arrest other members of the gang.
Muazu, who warned criminally minded individuals to leave Lagos for good, said they would have same fate befall hem if they refused to heed the advise.