‘How we went into car snatching’
The suspects- Friday Olute, Kingsley Sebastine, Gafaru Rasaq and Musa Hassan- were arrested recently after snatching a Toyota Corolla Saloon car from its owner, identified simply as Ifeanyi, at Igando area of Lagos State, at gunpoint.
It was gathered that the suspects ran into trouble after the owner wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, narrating how he was robbed at gunpoint at the entrance of a popular supermarket in Igando.
Police sources disclosed that the IGP subsequently directed operatives of the Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari, to investigate and track the suspects.
It was gathered that the leader of the gang Friday Olute, a commercial bus driver, who was once in prison, was arrested at his hideout at Morogbo area of the state and he confessed to have robbed several motorists, commercial bus passengers of their phones and other valuables and went into car-snatching because he thought he could make a huge amount of money from it.
Olute also explained that he was arrested last year after he attacked an official of the Lagos State Transportation Agency (LASTMA) on duty and was taken to the Ikoyi Prison, where he spent one year and six months and while in prison, he met one Lukmon, who was living like a king in the prison cell.
He disclosed that Lukmon had several contacts with people outside the prison and was also buying commercial buses for people, adding: “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 deliver good cars to him, Lukmon would buy me a bus, which I would use 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. When we identify a vehicle we believe the occupant has an expensive phone, jewelry or we sight a bag we believe could contain money, we will smash the glass of the vehicle and dispossess the occupant of their valuables.
“We operated mainly at Volks and Iyana Iba bus-stops along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway and we usually threaten our victims with sharp knife.”
He continued: “The money we made from that business were too small, so I convinced my gang members into joining me in the car -snatching deal. I told them that with the guns Lukmon’s contact had given us, we would snatch several vehicles, sell them 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 motorcycle heading towards Ikotun bus-stop and 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 the owner out of it. We zoomed off with the vehicle and took it to Owolabi, Lukmon’s contact.
“We met him at Iyana-Isashi bus-stop and after collecting the vehicle from us, he said we have to get him more vehicles, because he would have to 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 in traffic and took the vehicle from the owner. We handed over to Owolabi and also 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 steal cars for them for free, saying: “I am not into car-snatching. I am also a commercial bus driver, like my friend, Olute, and we were both robbing motorists on traffic before he went to prison.
“After he 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 prison whom he said was helping people and he said the man would buy us a bus 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 Owolabi, the man whom we gave the cars to, refused to pay us. He was very greedy and I hope the Police would arrest him soon. All the vehicles we stole are with him and he didn’t pay us a dime,” he lamented.
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