By Olatunde Vincent
There is an increasing involvement of Nigerian police officers in crime in the country. January 3rd, two corporals attached to the Abattoir police division in Lagos were reportedly arrested for masterminding armed robbery in the state.
Their arrest follows a similar arrest of four police officers attached to the MOPOL 20 squadron in the state who masterminded series of robbery operations in the state since 2010.
The crooked corporals arrested recently allegedly masterminded four robbery operations in the state. The officers, Abya Cashe, 36, and Isaac Abel, 39, have been tried and dismissed under the police orderly room.
The dismissed officers and nine other suspects were arrested by officers attached to the State Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) led by Assistant Superintendent of police Ade Adetaramin Adegbehin.
The suspects had successfully robbed a lawyer and his family at Lamgbassa area of the state where they also allegedly raped the victim’s wife and another lady in the house after they forcefully gained entry into the premises about 1 0’clock. The lawyer was also brutally wounded as the gang used machete to slash his head and arm.
In their confessional statement to the police, the crooked officers blamed their involvement in the crime on the devil.
“It is not as if I do not have salary but the devil pushed me to enter armed robbery, I the one who gave them the guns they used for armed robbery,” Abya said. “I got to know the gang through one Ogechi. Ogechi is my neighbour at Agege so he told me about the gang and I become the one supplying them with gun, I have given them gun for four robbery operations but I did not go with them in their last operation at Lamgbasa. I told corporal Isaac to go with them and when they came back, they gave me a laptop and a wristwatch. I feel bad about my involvement in the crime it is the devil’s handiwork.”
Isaac said he was lured into armed robbery by Abya and the devil.
“I have participated in two robbery operations with the gang,” Isaac said. “Abya was the one who gave me gun to escort the robbers to where they robbed. in that operation last year, we went to a boutique at Apapa where we stole jeans, shirts, and other valuables, this last operation we went a Lamgbasa- it was also Abya that gave me his gun, I feel bad about the crime, I was not threatened nor is it because I lack money but it is just devil that push me into armed robbery— bad friends like Abya also influenced me but I blame myself for listening to him.”
The other suspects include Emmanuel Effiong 29, Mike Noah 36, Ratty Edet 28, Momodu Lawal 26, Ogechi Sunday, 31,Josiah oriabura 38, Uchenna okorie 23, Abdulraza Aliyu 29, and Adamu Garuba.
Ratty Edet is alleged to be the brain behind recruiting gang members and pointing out victims to be attacked. He confessed to the crime.
“I was working as a solar energy contractor but I was not properly remunerated, I had to survive so that was how I went into armed robbery,” Edet said. “I liaised with Ogechi to recruit other members but it was the police corporal that provide us with the guns. When we went for the robbery at Lamgbasa, the gang wanted to rape a lady but I stopped them, I felt pity for her and I don’t know what came over me to collect her number. After the operation, I called her and that was how the police trailed me and arrested me and other gang.”
Josiah a father of one, said poverty led him into armed robbery.
“I am married and I have a daughter but it became difficult for me to eat despite the fact that I have school certificate and a college of technical education certificate,” Josiah said. “I was frustrated and started driving commercial bus, but I still could not fend for my family; my wife started bothering me and it was Ogechi that introduce me to armed robbery. I have robbed with them three times and I got only N20,000 in all the operations. I stopped armed robbery on new year day as I told God to help me to change into a better person in 2012, so I did not go with them to rob at Lamgbassa , it was after the others were arrested that they mentioned my name and I was arrested. I feel bad about everything, I wish I had not met Ogechi or be poor.”
The SARS officers recovered two guns, machete, laptops, wrist watches and other dangerous items from the gang however the police said they are on the trail of the buyer of the stolen cars and other items by the gang. The said suspect allegedly learnt about the other suspects’ arrest following a newspaper publication of the arrest of four members of the gang. He is said to be in possession of seven exotic cars and other valuables.