It was a shocking and emotional experience for a prominent bureau de change operators in Idi Iroko, Ogun State (name witheld), when his son was arrested in connection with a series of robberies that involved his customers. He was so heartbroken that he burst into tears.
His son, Rabiu, who was one of the eight suspects paraded before journalists on Tuesday by the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikemefuna Okoye, at the police headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, revealed how they robbed bureau de change customers and how they planned to rob a petrol station.
The Commissioner of Police stated that Rabiu was arrested after his gang members confessed to his involvement in their robbery activities. The other seven members were arrested at a hemp joint that served as their hideout at Ilogbo junction area of Ifo, Ogun State, on March 8 at about 7:00 p.m.
Mr Okoye said that the gang was planning to rob an unnamed petrol station in Ifo when operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Abeokuta, led by the officer in charge, Mohammed Tijani, a Superintendent of Police, swooped on them and arrested them.
He gave the names of the seven other suspects as Adesanya Emmanuel, Olukutan Ibrahim, Saheed Nureni, Opeoluwa Sese, Eyitayo Bolarinwa, Oyedele Peter and Yomi Akinola, adding that arms and ammunition, including one pump action gun, one cut-to-size double-barrel gun, two double-barrel pistols and 25 live cartridges were recovered from them.
Saturday Tribune learnt that Audu’s father used to delegate duties to his son and sometimes, when any of his customers came from Lagos State to change naira to CFA, he would ask his son to attend to them.
This way, Audu would have knowledge of the coming of his father’s customer and would plan with his gang members. One of them would station a 10-seater passenger bus close to the bureau de change and pretend to be a commercial driver. After changing naira to CFA, Audu would direct the customer to the bus, which would have three passengers already sitting inside.
As soon as their target entered the bus, others would go in to fill it up. The customer would then be dispossessed of his money at gunpoint along a lonely route, after which he would be pushed out of the vehicle.
This was said to have taken place four times. The first operation yielded five million CFA, which was converted to N1.6 million. Audu was given N300,000 out of it, with the promise of additional N50,000 (which was never given to him).
Four hundred thousand CFA (N115,000) and 200,000CFA were snatched from owners during second and third operations, out of which, it was learnt, Audu was not given a kobo. The gang got 20 million CFA (N5.6 million) during the fourth operation. Despite the amount, Rabiu was left out again. Their operations were successful until the gang members were nabbed at the hemp joint.
When asked why he decided to be part of the robbery gang, Rabiu (33) from Kebbi State said: “I don’t know what pushed me into crime. I believe it was the devil’s work. I am the first born of my father but he has other wives. I am a graduate of Archeology from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. I graduated in 2012 and did my national youth service in Benue State.
“My father has never denied me anything I ask from him. I started using my gang to rob my father’s colleagues in September 2013. I needed the money for processing my entry into Nigeria Customs Service. One of my friends, Taiye, also known as Alhaji, told me he wanted to be a bureau de change operator and I told him to go and get N750,000. He brought N150,000, out of which he gave me N15,000 as a gift.
“From that point, he started discussing with me on how to get my father’s colleagues who used to travel with CFA, but I refused to yield to his suggestions. I don’t know what eventually made me agree to his proposal. I have been involved in four robbery operations with the gang. The first operation yielded five million CFA and I was given N300,000 with the promise that I would be given additional N50,000. The second was two million CFA. The third and fourth were not successful, according to the gang members.
“I was once arrested by policemen from the Adeniji Adele Police Station. After my arrest by SARS operatives, my father was just weeping because he did not expect such behaviour from me. This made me to feel really bad.”
Saturday Tribune reliably gathered that the police would continue investigations while efforts Are on to arrest Taiye and other gang members.