The Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos, has apprehended a six-man robbery gang which allegedly attacked a church, Christ Authority and Power Evangelical Ministry, in the Ijanikin area of the state during the church’s crossover service on January 1, 2014.
The suspects, Adewale Osoja, Bala Yahaya, Hasan Ado, Ahmed Boladele, Abiodun Olanrewaju and Abbey Edward, were said to have stolen the church’s offering and also robbed members of the congregation of their Ipads, phones, jewellery and other valuables.
PUNCH Metro learnt that although the robbery was successful, one of the robbers, Ado, who claimed to be 19-years-old, forgot his gun at the church and went back to the scene the following day to retrieve it. He was arrested by residents of the area.
Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, said Ado was arrested and transferred to SARS after which he named other members of his gang.
Braide said, “On January 2, 2014, one of the gang members went to the street to ask some area boys if they had seen any gun because his own had fallen during the robbery. The community was immediately alerted and he was apprehended.
“He was transferred to SARS and his confession led to the arrest of other gang members. One of the gang members (Edward), who is 45-years-old, confessed that he bought the gun for N7,000 in Cotonou, Benin Republic, and sold it N20,000.”
The suspects, most of whom confessed to be members of the Eiye Confraternity, said they took to robbery recently.
One of them, Osoja, who claimed to be 21-years-old, was said to have been arrested by the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad last year and remanded in prison but was later released.
Osoja, who was alleged to be the leader of the gang, said prior to robbing the church, the gang had also robbed some people at the Federal Gate Bus Stop, along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
He said, “On December 31, 2013, we robbed some people around Federal Gate and snatched eight phones and money from them. Around midnight, we went to the church and stole offering of about N38, 000 and also robbed the members.
“I actually started robbing six months ago after being initiated into Eiye cult. I started by snatching phones at bus stops, but just recently, I started using guns.”
Another suspect, Olanrewaju, who claimed to be a member of the Odua People’s Congress, said he supplied the gang with ammunition, but maintained that he never followed them on any robbery operation.
A 45-year-old suspect, Edward, who hails from Cotonou in Benin Republic, also said he did not accompany the robbers to their operation.
He said he helped the gang to smuggle the guns into Nigeria
“I did not buy the guns for them. Olanrewaju told me that he had paid for the guns in Cotonou and gave me N7, 000 to help him transport each gun to Nigeria. I did not know they wanted to use the guns to rob,” he said.
Another suspect, Yahaya, who claimed to be 28-years-old, said this was his first robbery adding that it was poverty that pushed him to join the cult.
“During the robbery at the Federal Gate, I was given only four phones as my share, while the church robbery fetched me N4,000.”
Two double-barreled locally-made pistols, 50 live cartridges, military camouflage and 10 mobile phones were recovered from the suspects