May 4, 2024

My gang robbed 100 motorists on Otedola bridge in the past two years — Robbery kingpin, ‘Thug life’

My gang robbed 100 motorists on Otedola bridge in the past two years — Robbery kingpin, ‘Thug life’

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor

For long, Otedola Bridge on the Lagos- Ibadan expressway has been notorious and dreaded for various reasons.

When it is not the fatalities of accidents recorded on the bridge, it will be bloody attacks by hoodlums that terrorize motorists on top of the bridge.

The notoriety of the half kilometer bridge is such that motorists express deep sighs of relief after passing through it. Fortunately, the ugly situation attracted the attention of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos state, Adegoke Fayoade and he swung into action by detailing a crack team of policemen led by female Chief Superintendent of Police and DPO of Alausa Police station, CSP, Tokunbo Abaniwonda to flush out the hoodlums who have turned the bridge into haven for all sorts of criminalities and remained a thorn in the flesh of motorists whose vehicles break down in the night.

Thus, the female police officer drafted her men and during a sting operation on the bridge, she nearly lost her life after the hoodlums succeeded in attacking and injuring her. They disappeared with her phone.

However, the table turned against them after both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches were deployed in arresting the fleeing criminals. The leader of the gang, Tochukwu Nonso, 29, narrated to Crime Guard, how the gang was formed, their mode of operation and exploits and boasted that they have successfully robbed no fewer than 100 motorists on the bridge in the past two years.

Excerpts: My Background

My surname is Tochukwu Innocent Nonso Ucheagwu, from Ugwuaniocha in Ogbaru LGA Anambra State. I attended Idekin Primary School in Anambra State, but I stopped at primary 6 due to financial constraints. My father and mother are still alive, and we are five in my family. I am the first son. I have a 6- month-old child born by my Yoruba girlfriend.

How I got involved

Some guys introduced me to Kuruta in 2022. Before then, I worked in the streets, assisting car owners in parking their cars and collecting money. Initially, they didn’t disclose the nature of the business, but I soon realized it involved collecting phones and cash from people when their vehicles broke down. We didn’t use guns but cutlasses. After collecting the phones, we sold them. We targeted people at late nights.

100 victims in two years

We’ve robbed over 100 people, mainly targeting small cars, especially under Otedola Bridge in the past two years. Our operations start around 7 pm, after the police RRS team under the bridge must have left the area. Although we’ve never killed anyone, we’ve only robbed them. I started in 2022, but we’ve never used guns. We sell the stolen phones in Kurata and use the money for lodging. We also have a ready buyer at the computer village in Ikeja.

They call me “Thug Life,” and I am the leader of the gang. Before I joined the gang, their leader was another tough guy but he was later shot by the police and he died. That’s why I took over as the leader. I usually take the lion share after we must have sold the phones and the cash we got from our victims on top of the bridge. For instance, if we realized N100, 000.00, as their leader, I would take N30, 000.00 while other members of the gang would share the rest.

How I was arrested We were under the bridge that night, around 10pm, as usual waiting for a victim when we saw a bus that broke down. Suddenly, some ladies came down from the bus and one of them whom I did not know was a police officer, was fiddling with her phone. We then decided to strike. We took the pathway under the bridge and attacked them as they were all standing beside their vehicle. I shouted that they should surrender all their belongings and the woman who was with two phones surrendered them without resistance. She struggled with me and I had to strike her with the cutlass I was armed with. That forced her to lie down flat on the ground and other ladies that were with her followed suit. I then forcefully snatched the phones from her and before she could stand up, we disappeared into the thick bush under the bridge and hid inside the tunnel. While we were inside the tunnel, we heard sporadic shooting which lasted for some time. After that, we took another bush path and ended up at Fela Shrine. While at the shrine, we called our buyer at the Computer village who came and gave us N30, 000.00. We later moved to Akute where we normally hide in hotels. We were enjoying ourselves in the hotel when policemen arrested us.

Other past exploits

I have never killed anybody since we started operating. However, I have had two encounters with the police. One encounter was when they raided the shrine and arrested many of us. I spent about two weeks in the cell and after their efforts to force me to part with money failed, they released me. I told them that I am a hustler and had no money. The second encounter was when we were robbing motorists in a traffic gridlock on top the bridge. Some policemen accosted us and as I was running away, he shot me with a tear gas and the canister injured me on the laps. I did not go to any hospital, I just treated it with powder and that was all. The scar is still there (pointing at the wound on his lap).

I started operating without the influence of any drug but later, I started taking ‘Eskay’ occasionally, but I’m not a regular smoker. I bought the cutlass at the market and I have used it only once when someone robbed my girlfriend whose name is Zainab. My girlfriend knows about my criminal activities. The highest amount I’ve stolen in an operation was N120, 000.00. We used to get N30,000, N40,000 or N50,000.00 after operations.

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