Oluseye (surname withheld) is a soldier in the Nigerian Army, serving at 35 Brigade, Alamala, Ogun State. He was in the North East for quite some time fighting against the Boko Haram insurgents, before his return to his base in Abeokuta, the state capital.
However, a gang of armed robbers attempted to rubbish his training when they dispossessed him of his car, money and phones while he was unarmed, after leaving an Automated Teller Machine point one evening.
But the Federal- State Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) of the Ogun State Police Command proved that security operatives could be ahead of criminals when they arrested three suspects who carried out the operation.
Disclosing this to Saturday Tribune in Abeokuta, the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu said that when the case was reported, he directed the F-SARS Commander, DSP Adams Abu, to go after the hoodlums.
According to Iliyasu, “the F-SARS Commander detailed one Inspector Akeem Adeyemi and his team for the operation which yielded success with the arrest of the suspects and the recovery of the soldier’s vehicle and phones.”
He gave the names of the suspects as Sulaimon Kabiru, (30), Ayoola Taiwo (23) and Oyefeso Seun (27), saying that a Toyota Camry car, a pump-action gun, two locally-made cut-to-size pistols, as well as one expended and four live cartridges were recovered from them.
Speaking with Saturday Tribune during an interview, Kabiru disclosed that “me and my gang members robbed a soldier at Panseke area of Abeokuta. We did not know that he was a soldier. We just saw him withdrawing money from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). We were watching him while on the motorcycle we used for the operation.
“After he left the ATM, we started trailing him until we got to Panseke. As he parked and wanted to step out of the car, we crossed his car and pulled out our gun, asking him for the money he just withdrew. He told us it was in the car. We collected the car key from him and drove towards Itoku area of the Abeokuta.
“We took the money we found in the car’s glove box and left the car at Itoku. The gang member who counted the money said it was N300,000. My own share was N100,000.”
The suspect said that though that would be his first robbery operation at an ATM point, he had been carrying out robbery operations with other gang members before he went to prison. “The robbery operation that led to my recent arrest was the first one I did after I came of prison,” Kabiru said.
On what took him to prison, the suspect told Saturday Tribune: “It was the same robbery within Abeokuta metropolis. I spent two years in the prison as an awaiting trial inmate. I later secured my bail and the case was struck out. I left the prison in November 2016 and resumed robbery operation in January this year.”
He confessed that he had a phone he was using to communicate with his friends while in the prison. “I smuggled the handset into the prison through the food that was brought to me. It was wrapped with cellophane and stuffed in the head of a fish that was put on my food. I used to sell the recharge cards sent to me to rich inmates so that I could use the money to survive” Kabiru revealed.
On how his gang got the gun it used for robbery operation, Kabiru said it was AY who ‘arranged’ it. “I met AY in the prison and when we came out, he called me and I went to see him. He urged me to join him in carrying out robbery operations so that we would be able to survive outside the prison.
“I told him I was tired of the crime but he said if I didn’t do it, I would not be able to feed my wife and two children. I got convinced when there was no family to help me and started with him in January.
“I also used to rob with another gang member, Seun, but I ran from Abeokuta to Sango when he was arrested in 2016. After robbing the soldier, I sold the gun we used to Seun for N15,000 because I didn’t want to rob again.
Another suspect, Taiwo, who used to convey the gang members to operations with his bike, also spoke with Saturday Tribune: “I am an okada rider. Kabiru was like a brother to me in my neighbourhood. I used to send him recharge cards when he was in prison anytime he called me that he needed it to get money to eat. We worked together before he was arrested. I was his okada man. When I learnt he was out of prison, I came back to Abeokuta from where I travelled to.”
Taiwo said that he had also been to prison and came out in 2015. “I returned to my okada business but the motorcycle I purchased on installment payment was stolen so I had to connect with another gang member. I was the one who conveyed the gang members on my okada the day we robbed the soldier. I was tracked through the phone I collected from him.”
The third suspect, Seun, told Saturday Tribune that he was not with the gang the soldier was robbed, “but I was caught with a gun where I went to fight. It was Kabiru who sold the gun to me. I used to steal motorcycles with Kabiru, but he ran away when I was caught. I bought the gun to protect myself because I am a member of Eiye cult.”
The Commissioner of Police however said that the suspects would be further investigated, after which they would be charged to court.