Oct 16,2011 – Laitan Abidoye, an auto mechanic is in police custody for armed robbery.
“I used to work as car mechanic; that is what I learned for a trade,” he said. “Although I wasn’t living at Mushin at the time, I was a frequent visitor there. There were Indian hemp joints at Alhaji Lasisi Street, Mushin, where I would go to buy hemp and generally have fun with friends.
It was at one of these hemp joints that I met Alhaji Kazeem. I didn’t know what he did for a living but he was very generous with money. One day, he asked me to come with him to Ijora and I agreed.”
Abidoye and Kazeem later met two men; Shina and Ejike, at Ijora, members of a robbery gang.
“There was traffic at the time but as it was about to easing up, to my surprise a gun showed up out of nowhere and Alhaji and his boys stopped a Toyota Camry. They had to shoot into the air to make a quick escape. Initially, when I sighted the gun, I was scared but Kazeem told me not to worry.
We all got into the Camry and drove to Mushin where I alighted. Another lady got in who I later found out to be a gang member known as Alhaja Fausat Anifowose. They all drove away and when Alhaji returned,the Camry was nowhere in sight.”
The car heist at Ijora was Abidoye’s initiation and there was no going back after what he had just witnessed.
“I couldn’t leave the gang,” he said. “Kazeem threatened me. Besides, I had collected so much money from him. We went on two more robberies at Ijora, one of which was unsuccessful as the car broke down and had to be abandoned. Both occasions, I never handled any firearm. It was Kazeem and Ejike that were armed.”
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Yakubu Alkali, said two pistols were recovered from Abidoye’s room.
“Abidoye was a member of a robbery syndicate that specialises in stealing cars and taking them to Cotonou for sale,” he said. “He was turned in by a police officer who knew him back in his days at the NURTW Ikeja.
Abidoye’s subsequent confession led to the arrest of four more members of their gang, although Kazeem and Ejike are currently on the run. Two pistols and some ammunition were recovered from Abidoye’s room.”
According to the police boss, Anifowose, Kemi Adesanya, Abiola Obe and Ugochukwu Obi are the other members of the gang who were arrested within days of Abidoye’s confession.
38-year-old Anifowose, covered up in her veil and clutching beads, cut the picture of religious piety. “I live at Agbara and before my husband’s death in 2010, I sold cement for a living,” she said.
“I got to know Kazeem in Cotonou. I was introduced to him by a friend, Funke, who told me that Kazeem needed a woman who would accompany his drivers while they ferried cars from Nigeria to Cotonou.
He didn’t want his drivers to be quizzed unduly at police checkpoints. I had no idea that Kazeem was involved in car snatching. I just went along because of the money; I was paid N15,000 for each trip made.”
On his part, Obi, 17, claimed he had come to Lagos to visit Ejike. “Ejike is from my village, back home at Anambra,” he said. “We went to the same primary school. I met him here in Lagos when I came to see my elder brother.
That was around Mile 2 where I was handing out gospel tracts to passersby. He invited me to his house and I occasionally came to visit him. I ran errands and did other chores for him but I had no idea he was a criminal.”
Alkali, however, debunked Obi’s claims. “They would all be duly prosecuted,” he said. “Obi was well aware that Ejike was a criminal; he was found in Ejike’s room when the police raided it.
Three pistols and ammunitions were recovered from that same room. Furthermore, Abidoye in his statement said that Obi was usually in attendance at their meetings which held before they embarked on robbery operations.
Obi’s elder brother also claimed he had no idea who Ejike was and didn’t know him as Obi’s friend. Efforts are being made to arrest Ejike and Kazeem who are currently on the run.” (Daily Times)