…Describe how they graduated from phone robbers to car snatchers
By Ifeanyi Okolie
Four members of a notorious robbery gang terrorizing people on the Lagos- Badagry Expressway, have narrated how they graduated from robbing motorists of their phones, laptops and cash while on traffic, to being car snatchers.
The suspects who were identified as Friday Olute, Kingsley Sebastine, Gafaru Rasaq and Musa Hassan, were arrested recently after they snatched a Toyota Corolla Saloon car from its owner, identified simply as Ifeanyi, at Igando area of Lagos State.
Vanguard gathered that the suspects ran into trouble after the owner of the vehicle, wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, detailing how his vehicle was robbed at gun point at the entrance of a popular super market in Igando area of the state.
Police sources disclosed that the IGP, directed his operatives at the Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to investigate and track down the suspects. It was revealed that the leader of the gang Friday Olute, a commercial bus driver who had once been to prison was arrested at his hideout at Mrogbo area of the state and he confessed to have robbed several motorists and bus passengers of their phones and other valuables. He also confessed that he went into car snatching because he thought he could make big money from it.
Olute also explained that he was arrested in 2017 after he fought an official of the Lagos State Transportation Agency, LASTMA, and was taken to the Ikoyi Prison, where he spent one year and six months. He said while he was in prison, he met one Lukmon, who was living like a king.
He disclosed that Lukmon had several contacts with people outside the prison and was also buying commercial buses for people.
“I approached Lukmon and I became friends with him. I told him to help me get a bus and he linked me up with one of his friends who was out of the prison. When my case was discharged from the court and I was freed, I contacted the person Lukmon linked me up with and he asked me to see him. When we met, he handed over two locally made guns and 10 cartridges to me, informing me that Lukmon wanted me to go into town and rob cars for him.”
“He said when I delivered good cars to him, Lukmon would buy me a bus for my commercial business. I accepted and I took the guns to my friends at Alaba Rago. Before I went to prison, my friends; Sebastine, Rasaq and Hassan and I were into traffic robbery.
We attacked motorists who were held up in traffic. Whenever we identified a vehicle which we believed the occupant has an expensive phone, jewelry or we sighted a bag we believed could contain money, we would smash the glass of the vehicle and dispossess the occupant of their valuables. We operated mainly at Volks and Iyano Iba, Bus Stop along the Lagos Badagry Expressway and we usually threatened our victims with sharp Knife.”
“The money we made from that business was too small, so I convinced my gang members to Join me in car snatching. I told them that with the guns we had, we would snatch several vehicles which we would sell and change our lives. We had this meeting at Alaba Rago and we carried out our first robbery operation two days later at Igando area. I can’t remember the exact bus stop, but we were on a motorbike heading towards Ikotun Bus Stop when we sighted the Toyota Corolla car and the owner was inside. I had one of the guns and Sebastine had the second one. We surrounded the car and forced out the owner. We then zoomed off with the vehicle and took it to Owolabi, Lukmon’s contact. We met him at Iyano-Sashi Bus Stop and after collecting the vehicle from us, he said we have to get him more vehicles because he would take the one we gave him to Benin Republic. He didn’t pay us any money. We went out the next day and snatched another vehicle at Okokomaiko Bus stop. We accosted the owner of the vehicle at the traffic and took the car.
We then handed it over to Owolabi who again refused to pay us. My gang members thought we had a deal and they were angry with me. Each time I called him he would say he was yet to sell the vehicle at Benin Republic. While we were waiting for him to bring our money, the police came and arrested us. I was the first person that was arrested and I led the police to arrest my other gang members.
The police didn’t know that I had stolen more than one vehicle, they tracked me through the first car I snatched. “ On his part, Sebastine said Owolabi deceived them and made them to rob cars for them for free. “I am not into car snatching.
I am a commercial bus driver like my friend, Olute and were both robbing motorists on traffic before he went to prison. After I was arrested, I stopped, but we regrouped when he came with the gun because I needed money. He told me about the man he met in the prison who he said was helping people and he said the man would buy a bus for us if we robbed cars for him.
The man gave us two guns and I was left with no choice but to join him in the operation. But Olwolabi, the man we gave the cars refused to pay us. He was very greedy, I hope the police will arrest him soon. All the vehicles we stole are with him and he didn’t pay us a dime. “ he lamented.