Operatives of the Lagos special security outfit, Rapid Response Squad (RRS), have cracked an armed robbery syndicate, which allegedly operates from Kirikiri prison. The leaders of the syndicate, Odudu Uttah, Sunday and Tosin who are awaiting trial were found with list of targets in Lagos who their members had attacked and still planning to attack.
Their gang members who were arrested include Nsima Uttah, the younger brother of Odudu Uttah; Abayomi James, Omokaro Efe, Augustine Uchenna, Chukwuma Onyemara, Uzuazomaro Joseph, Melvin Umeh, Ahmed Waheed and Odili Benedict. On their arrest, a police source told Saturday Sun that victims alerted operatives of RRS about the activities of some hoodlums in Ayobo area in Lagos state.
“On August 25, we got reports from victims that their houses were broken into by suspected armed robbers. The suspects raided their houses and left with valuables including cars. Through intelligence gathering, we were able to trace some of the suspects and discovered that the cars were already in Anambra State.
“The Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, thereafter instructed that our men should trace and recover the cars. A tracking team was sent to Anambra and they were able to recover the cars from the buyers.
“Nine suspects who include three buyers were arrested. In the course of investigation, it was discovered that most of the crimes committed were coordinated from Kirikiri prison. As such, we were able to intercept their plan to raid more homes. The police authority has written to Nigerian Prisons to facilitate the process of bringing out the inmates for further investigation”, a police source disclosed.
Mr. Dada who was one of their victims told the police that the robbers gained access into his house at about 2am on August 25, 2017. “They were the ones who woke me up as I did not hear while they were breaking in. They were armed and started beating me up. They requested for money and I told them I don’t have any. They searched the whole house and collected all our phones, cloths, jewelries, laptops, Television sets and other valuables. They packed them in my car and waited till 5am before they left.”
Another victim simply identified as Bamidele told the police that the armed robbers invaded his house on September 9, 2017. “They broke my burglary proof and entered the house around 1.45am. Before I could pick my phone to make a call, they have overpowered and tied me up. They took all the valuables within reach and drove off with my Toyota Camry car. ”
At the police station, the suspects admitted to have participated in several robberies especially in Ayobo area. They alleged that their leaders who are inmates in prison, awaiting trial, gave the addresses of their victims to them.
One of the suspects, Nsima 33, told the police that his journey into the criminal world dates back to 2013 after observing the lifestyle of his elder brother, Odudu. “I used to be a bus driver but I realized that my brother was making so much money and yet no one knows what he does for a living. All I knew back then was that he travels a lot, so I assumed he could be a fraudster.
It was when the police arrested him that I knew what exactly he was doing. One of his friends, Shokunbi who is also an armed robber asked me to raise money and help my brother. I told him that I don’t make much money so he taught me how to break shops.
“The little money we raised was sent to my brother who is in prison. When I saw him, he told me to promise that I will continue my driving job.
The temptation was too much, so I continued breaking shops at Ajegunle and snatching bags with the guidance of Shokunbi and his gang. After about a year, my brother was granted bail and he went back to the same crime. Shokunbi told him that I am good, so he had no choice but to allow me join them.
“Unfortunately, he was arrested again at Ayobo when the people in the area alerted the police that he was back and still committing crime. Odudu was offended, so he made a list of all the people whom he suspected reported him to the police and we started robbing them one after the other.”
On how they operate, Nsima said that they normally broke into homes through the windows. “We normally remove the burglary proof through the window of the sitting room. Our targets in Ayobo are those with cars. Cars are the only valuables you can get in an average man’s house. When we enter the house, we will wait till it’s morning time, about 5am before we drive out like every normal person. While we are waiting, we will eat good food if there is any in the fridge. We will also tie up the people in the house and take all their phones.
“All the cars that we got were sold between N150, 000 and N300, 000 to one Umeh who is based in Anambra. It was my brother who normally calls him from prison anytime there is a product (stolen car) for sale.”
He also told the police that there are other two houses marked for robbery in Ayobo before police arrested them. “Odudu asked us to target a man who owns a big Toyota car popularly called muscle because it can be sold for as high as N400, 000. His lawyer needed that money in order to get him on bail. We were planning to operate when policemen arrested us.”
Another suspect, Abayomi James, alleged that there are two other persons in prison who normally suggested who and who to attack. “We are loyal to them because they are the ones who taught us robbery and have access to guns. Most importantly, we have to obey them so that if police arrest and send us to prison, they will protect us over there. I normally get my own instruction from Sunday and Tosin. Part of the money we get from selling cars is usually used to pay their lawyers.”
Another suspect, Omokaro told the police that he was the one responsible for buying all the guns used during all their robbery operations. “I am a private security man with Oando and they pay me N25, 000 a month. It is too small for a married man who is 48 years old. It is not even enough to pay for house rent. I have links with people that sell guns that was why I volunteered.”
Yet another suspect, Shokunbi, told the police that he is awaiting trial and was released on bail after spending 18 months in prison. “Once they release you from prison, you don’t need to go to court again. They will not even look for you because we were told by our lawyers that once they release you on bail, you are free. I have known Odudu for many years and we were arrested and released the same time. Unfortunately, he was arrested again by the police.”
One of the buyers of the stolen cars, Melvin admitted to the police that he knew the cars were stolen. “Odudu called me from the prison that his boys will contact me with some cars. I knew that they were stolen that is why I pay them N150, 000 per car. Whenever they call me I will travel to Lagos from Onitsha to pick them (stolen cars) up.”
Yet another buyer, Ahmed Waheed said that his own role is to buy the other valuables like Plasma TV, jewelries, phones and cloths. “I normally give them N10, 000 for 42inch Plasma TV.”