LAGOS— Operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, Ikeja, Lagos have smashed a syndicate, arresting a woman and a man that specialised in robbing unsuspecting passengers who board commercial cab along Badagry-Mile 2 route.
According to Police sources, the suspects identified as Ahmed Isiaka and Victoria Amodu are part of five-man robbery gang operating along Seme-Badagry- Mile 2 route.
One of the apprehended robbers, 27-year-old Victoria, while narrating her story said: “I was arrested last Wednesday at Dakar Hotel in Seme where I used to work as a prostitute.
“I am from Edo State. I came to Lagos last February to look for greener pastures when my husband was constantly beating me. We were married for eight years.
“I abandoned my husband and three children and came to Lagos with the intention of living under the bridge until I found a place to lay my head. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to sleep under the bridge as I met a lady in a commercial bus I boarded who had compassion on me when she saw me crying in the bus.
“She took me to the hotel where she was working as a prostitute and introduced me into the league of prostitutes.
“Everything was going on well until Okanlawon patronised me in the hotel. The first time we spent the night together. After that night I didn’t see him again untill three weeks later.
“Weeks later, someone stole my N100,000 from my room in the hotel while I was asleep. While I was still lamenting the loss, the collector of our Esusu contribution disappeared with my N150,000.
“As I was still grieving over the loss, Okanlawon came to the hotel to see me. He told me to accompany him to a night club. Initially I declined but after much persuasion I followed him.
“Instead of going to the club, he took me to his place where we spent the night together. In the morning, he asked me to enter the front seat of his vehicle and he started picking passengers and I asked him why he was carrying passengers but he didn’t respond.
“It was when he and his gang members attacked the passengers that I knew what he was into. I told him I didn’t want to take part in their operations. But he threatened to deal with me, saying nobody would know my whereabouts if I didn’t co-operate with the gang.
“That was why I had a rethink and continued to participate in robbery operations. The first time I participated, I wasn’t given anything while at two other times I was given N15,000 and N10,000 respectively.”
Trouble for the gang
started for the gang after a victim whom they robbed reported the incident at the Ojo Police Division which began investigating the activities of the gang.
Ironically, the female police officer investigating the case at the division was also robbed by the gang when she boarded their vehicle while in mufti.
She was able to get details of the vehicle during the attack. The cab was later traced to Iyana-Iba the next day when unsuspecting passengers were already boarding it.
Ahmed was then arrested while the other members escaped. The case was later transferred to SARS for further investigation which eventually led to the arrest of Victoria.
Mode of operation
The gang had two operational styles. First, they could use two operational vehicles.
One of the suspects, Ahmed would occupy the driver’s seat while Victoria, the only female suspect in the gang sits in front and another gang member at the back as unsuspecting passengers board the cab.
The other two members would sit in the back-up vehicle. Immediately they get to a lonely place along the road, the gang members in the back-up cab would signal the driver with the passenger to stop by flashing his phone.
The driver would then pretend to be fixing his vehicle that would have suddenly become faulty. This will allow those in the back-up vehicle to launch an attack. That way the passengers won’t suspect any foul play.
The second mode of operation is that they use one vehicle with Victoria sitting beside the driver to pick passengers without the back-up vehicle.
During interrogation, 33-year-old Ahmed Isiaka from Kwara State told Vanguard: “I was introduced to the gang by Okanlawon last November. Other members of the gang are Nuru, Victoria and Isiaka.
“I am the driver of the operational vehicle, a Honda Accord, while Nuru used to drive the back-up vehicle, a Mazda.
“We used to operate along Iyana-Iba-Badagry expressway. Usually, Victoria sits at the front while another member sits at the back. I take passengers from Iyana-Iba bus stop going to Badagry. Before we get to a lonely area between Agbara and Oko-Afo the other members of the gang in the back-up vehicle would signal me to stop.
“Immediately, I receive the signal, I would pretend like the vehicle was faulty then park and pretended to be fixing the vehicle. While this was going on, the other members would strike.
“We don’t use guns or juju to rob passengers, instead we use wheel spanner. We don’t even make them unconscious during operation. Usually we operate in the night. Sometimes we operate in broad daylight.
“Depending on our loot, I could get as much as N10,000 from one operation. And I have participated in about four robbery operations.
“Okanlawon used to take all the phones we get from operations. Before I joined the gang I was a commercial bus driver.
“I am married with a child. I used to live at Ibafo before my rent expired and I moved to 1, Denton Street in Oyingbo