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HOLY ROBBERS..Pray and sing hymns before taking off for operation

Posted by By Juliana Francis on 2006/06/15 | Views: 1686 |

HOLY ROBBERS..Pray and sing hymns before taking off for operation

Seven suspected commercial bus robbers, who were arrested by the police in Lagos, have revealed how they usually go into ‘praise and worship’ sessions, before robbing unsuspecting passengers.

Seven suspected commercial bus robbers, who were arrested by the police in Lagos, have revealed how they usually go into ‘praise and worship’ sessions, before robbing unsuspecting passengers.

The suspects, who claimed to be staunch Christians, said their greatest undoing on the day they were arrested was that they only “shared the grace.”

They told Daily Sun that their arrest that fateful May 28, was because they didn’t pray before embarking on the operation that turned out to be their waterloo. According to them, they had always kept the Sabbath day holy.

They said they never missed church services and as a rule, they had always resisted the temptation to rob on holy days. But suddenly, they broke what was almost becoming a law simply because, “the leader of the gang was broke.” This they say, landed them in police net.

The suspects were identified as Nelson Onoriede, Michael Omoletu, Odudu John, Godwin Odah, Hope Idarah, Chinaka Cosmas, and Victor Obika.
John said: “ If we are going for operation, I sit at the front seat, beside the driver. We start off with prayers and gospel songs. We would sing from 7Up to Onipanu. We pray because doing the job is not from our mind. We ask God to forgive us. We would tell Him that the job was just for a short time. We would tell Him to help those we were about to rob that He should provide hundred folds for them. We would also ask Him to make our work to be successful.”

The gang was smashed in the Ojuelegba area of Lagos. Daily Sun gathered that a team of policemen, attached to the Shomolu Division, led by Sergeant Ossair Chukwuka, was on patrol when their eagle eyes noticed the commercial bus, marked XK800AAA, with some restive passengers. The patrol team was said to have started trailing the bus. It was when the suspects started beating one of the passengers that it became clear that they were robbers. The patrol gave them a hot chase from Gbagada Expressway down to Surulere barracks bus stop and eventually overtook their vehicle. They were immediately apprehended.

One Ayodele Idowu, a victim, told policemen that the hoodlums collected N14,000 from him.
Michael said: “ That Sunday’s work was an emergency one. We didn’t pray on that day. It was because we didn’t pray that we were arrested. We hardly work on Sundays. We like keeping it holy. But Nelson said he didn’t have money.

He said we should go for operation that day. Because we were in a hurry, we didn’t sing praises, worship songs nor prayed. We only shared the grace. After sighting three police pick-up vans in different areas, we decided to go back home, but Nelson wouldn’t agree. He has the power and authority, because he was the one that brought the bus.”
The men said they had been into commercial bus robbery before the advent of GSM. Nelson, the leader of the gang said that back then, what they usually do was to tell passengers to respect themselves and hand over their bags.

He said: “We tell them we are agents searching for those carrying drug or Indian hemp. As we searched their bags, we would remove money, but they wouldn’t know. Sometimes, we use my car to operate. We would pick a passenger after shadowing him to see if he has a bulging pocket or has a bag. We would later pick our members along the road, who would be standing as passengers. On the move, we would tell the person to bring his or her bag, that we are not after his life but the money.”

Nelson, a dismissed soldier, said he was relieved of his job in 2002, after he and four others, who were on duty on a highway in Kaduna, stopped a driver and discovered N350,000 in the boot of his car. They were said to have forcefully collected the money. But, “we didn’t know that the man knows our commandant. He reported us and gave the commandant our patrol van registration number. We were all dismissed and the money collected from us.”

Nelson said he had been off and on in commercial bus robbery. He went back to it after he decided to re-enlist in the army and those who promised to assist him said they needed N70,000. He felt he could raise the money through robbery. Michael and John were once arrested by Area ‘G’ police command, Ogba, Ikeja, and were later granted bail by the court. Instead of turning a new leaf, they went back to crime. Nelson claimed he went back because he needed money to bury his grandfather and to pay for his re-enlistment. After carrying out an operation at Five Star bus stop along the Oshodi expressway where they dispossessed a man of N350, 000, the gang agreed to buy a bus, instead of using Nelson’s car all the time.

The men woke up the next day only to find out that Nelson had bolted with the money. Like a prodigal son, Nelson returned to the gang months later, filled with remorse after spending the money. He told them that one Ifeanyi had given him a bus and once again they continued in the crime.
John claimed to have gone back to crime because he stole his elder brother’s N450,000 to travel to London but fell into the hands of fraudsters.

He said: “ Everybody in my family knew I stole the money. They were all against me. There was no house for me to stay, no food. I ran away. I started staying with Mike. My plan was to raise the money and return it to my brother.”

Michael said he only wanted to make a little money before moving to Port Harcourt, finally with his wife. He disclosed that if the police were serious to curb commercial bus robberies, they would start a clean-up exercise from the army barracks at Oshodi. According to him, it was soldiers who started what is today known as “ One chance or catch in the air robbery.”

He said: “ If you need anybody for commercial bus robbery, go to Bolade! If you have people you’re operating with, we call it office. For example, if you’re desperate and you don’t have office, just go to Bolade, bus will come for you. The owner will select people that will work with him. Bolade, is that barracks’ fence. They sell oranges close to the place. People standing there are for one chance work. It’s the barracks boys that started this business of one chance. If the police come for raid, the barracks boys easily scale the fence into the barracks. If you don’t stay in the barracks and you dare jump the fence, soldiers will catch you.”

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown