By Evelyn Usman
For sometime, residents of Lugbe community in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have been going through hellish experiences in the hands of a deadly robbery gang. But a particular gang did not only dispossess their victims of cash, telephones , laptops and other valuables, they also raped women; whether married or single.
Some of these female victims were raped right in front of their husbands who were forced to lie flat on the ground, with guns pointed on their heads and a threat to blow them off should they attempt to put up any resistance . At the end of the operation cum rape, the affected couples are left to brood over the bloodcurdling picture , all the days of their lives.
The good news is that Operatives of the Inspector- General of Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT have smashed the syndicate, following the arrest of four of its suspected members.
Incidentally, the suspects, Tochukwu Otu, 22; Ikechukwu Udechukwu, 31; Ebuka Aniegu 25 and Monday Osueke, 32, are indigenes of Enugu State. Crime Guard gathered that the suspects had stormed some houses in Lugbe last week, where they raped some married women, among who was a nursing mother.
The nursing mother (names withheld) had forced one of her breasts into her baby’s mouth that fateful night , to prevent him from crying, in a bid to avoid attracting the robbers attention to her apartment.
Unknown to her, the uninvited thieves had gained entrance into her apartment, having cut off the burglary wedge of one of her windows with an iron bar.
They however, met their waterloo, following the arrest of one of them, Osueke , who was tracked via a telephone that was abandoned during the operation.
In their confessional statement, the suspects said that the fleeing leader of the gang, whose identity they gave simply as Osas , was responsible for the rape indulgences.
According to 22 –year-old Otu, “ We usually operated at midnight when all occupants were asleep. In this case at Lugbe, we operated in three houses. The first apartment we entered, the man we met said he had no money . We only collected phones and laptops.
“ In the second house, we saw a fat woman breastfeeding her baby. Like the first apartment, she and her husband said there was no money and we collected their phones.
At that point, our boss, Osas, told us to go outside . By the time we came back, he was till fondling with the nursing mother’s breast , while one of us was fingering her. The woman was just begging them to leave her alone.
” From there , we went to a third house where a fair complexioned woman was raped by Osas. He took her from where she was on the bed with her husband, to the sitting room and asked us to remain In the bedroom with the man. By the time he finished, he called us inside.
“I joined the gang six months ago because of lack of job. I am an apprentice in a barbing saloon. But my boss traveled and locked the shop. At the end of each operation, Osas, would sell the stolen phones and laptops and share the money among us. I usually got between N20,000 and N50,000 at the end of each operation”.
My role is to finger women
On his part, Udechukwu, 31, a truck driver, said his role in the said operation that led to their arrest was to finger the nursing mother.
He said, “ I am not the person that raped the women. What I did was to finger one of them. I was ordered by leader of the gang, Osas, to finger her, while he fondled with her breasts. He always raped women and if he wanted to do it, he would order us to leave the place . I have gone on operation with him twice. On both occasions, he raped the female victims even before their husbands.
“ I left Lagos for Abuja in January 2019 , after I stopped work at Dangote Refinery . But a financial challenge came my family’s way , after my younger brother was involved in an accident. He had a nail pierced into one of his eyes and needed to undergo surgery that would cost N200,000.
“On arrival in Abuja, I shared my problem with Osas , whom I met through my friend, Tochukwu. He promised to assist me raise some money. On a particular day, he invited me, Tochukwu and another person out. We went for an operation and at the end, he gave me N100,000 from the money realized from the sale of stolen phones and laptops. We usually scaled the fence and broke the burglary with an iron bar “
As for Ebuka, he said that he only followed them to the scene of crime but did not rape nor violate any of their female victims sexually.
He said, “ I knew they were going to rob. I only followed them to watch how they operated. When we got there, they gave me some laptops they collected from victims’ apartment . All I did was to put them inside the bag we went there with . I was into business before I came to Abuja, from Kaduna state”, said the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination holder.
But unlike Ebuka, 32-year-old Osueke , said he left the gang close to three months ago, to live a clean life. Unfortunately for him, one of the suspects telephone which mistakenly dropped from his pocket, gave him out.
Said he : “ I used to follow them to previous operations. But I had to leave the gang because I did not like the job. When I left, I went into drilling of borehole.
” I did not follow them to the operation that led to their arrest. When they returned, Ikechukwu told me to go and help him buy sim card because he misplaced his phone on the operation ground. Two days after I bought him the sim card, policemen tracked me through the sim card”.
The IRT operatives as gathered are still on the trail of fleeing members of the gang, while those arrested would soon be charged to court.