‘How I receive, sell 38 ‘clean’ handsets weekly’,
The long arm of the law finally descended on a major buyer of stolen mobile phones in Lagos when he was arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command. In a rare feat, he has confessed to buying over 4,256 mobile phones from robbers and ‘one chance’ gangs operating within the metropolis.
The suspect, 42-year-old Kazeem Bamidele, who is the Second Vice Chairman of the National Union of Road and Transport Workers’ (NURTW), Ajegunle Unit, equally confessed to the RRS Intelligence Team that he has over 52 boys in Lagos State, who steal and sell “clean phones” to him constantly.
Bamidele, popularly known as “Elewure” in the social circle, was arrested, when the RRS Intelligence Team quizzed two stolen phone users in Kogi State in connection with abduction and robbery cases in Lagos State.
The operatives had upon returning from a weeklong investigation in Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kogi State, swung into action by arresting Elewure at his shop in Boundary Market, Ajegunle, after he was fingered to have been the seller of two Blackberry Z10 phones collected from victims of robbery and abduction incidents in Lagos.
Bamidele said: “I have over 52 boys who sell clean stolen mobile phones to me. On the average, I receive 38 ‘clean’ phones in a week. I have been in the business for more than two years.
“Boundary Market in Ajegunle where I have office and shop, is where they sell the phones to me and that is where the buyers equally get them. I know they are stolen phones. Nearly every guy in Ajegunle is involved in this kind of runs. It is what they do to survive.
“I was pushed into the business by family pressure. I have two wives and seven children. I have so many dependents. What I pay as school fees alone is staggering. I have faced too many problems in life. My mother gave birth to 13 children for my father. Though both of them are no more, only three of us are left and I am the breadwinner of the family.
“My first wife’s children are part of the predicament I have. Since I married the second wife, I have not known peace. Can you believe that since I was arrested, she has not called or visited me? I know this is a lesson for me in life. I started out in life as ‘elubo’, pepper and maize grinder. I know that most of these phones were gotten from pickpocketing, one chance and robbery.
“I buy Infinix Hot 2 at N10,000 and sell at N12,000; Blackberry Z30 at N20,000 and sell at N22,000; Infinix Hot Note at N15,000 and sell at N17,000 and Samsung Galaxy X3 at N11,000 and sell at N14,000. I don’t buy iPhone because of its locking system,” he narrated.
Investigators revealed that as at the time of his arrest, five stolen mobile phones were found with him. He is presently helping the police to pick up his boys from their hideouts, bus stops and routes of operations. Already, two commercial buses used for robbery and ‘one chance’ operations have been impounded at RRS Headquarters in Alausa.
According to the Police spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of police, “the command is following up the suspect’s revelations and making steady progress in the investigation of the case. The suspect has been transferred to SARS for further interrogation.”
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