by Comfort Oseghale
The police have made a breakthrough in a $100m robbery off the Bayelsa State waters.
This was after a suspected pirate and oil pipeline vandal, Bayo Macaulay, 30, was arrested by the police last week in connection with an alleged off-shore armed robbery incident that took place in 2010.
CRIME DIGEST gathered that Macaulay had, in company with other members of a daring five-man gang, allegedly attacked and robbed some expatriate oil dealers aboard a ship on the coastline near Bayelsa State. The victims were said to have lost the sum of $100m to the bandits during the attack.
In an interview with our correspondent, Macaulay admitted that he had lived as a criminal since 2002. Before that time, he had been a casual workers with the Nigeria Ports Authority. After being encouraged by some friends, he had dabbled into illegal oil bunkering.
Macaulay said, “I have been into oil bunkering with the other members of my gang for many years and I made a lot of money from it. When we were working with the NPA, we burgled containers at night. Also, I have worked as a sea driver, operating motorised boats at sea. All of us lived not far from one another in the Ajegunle and Kirikiri areas of Lagos.”
Recounting the circumstances that led to his arrest, the suspect continued, “Sometime in 2010, Shehu informed Emola, who was the leader of the gang, that some oil dealers had just finished making a transaction and they were returning with a large sum of money.
“Emola told me about it in the presence of six other persons. Some of them were not members of our gang, but they knew Emola. Before that time, I had never been involved in armed robbery. In spite of this, I decided to participate in this particular operation.
“We made our plans and when it was time, I drove Emola, Shehu and Nansiri in my boat from Lagos to Bayelsa State. Tosin and one Shola, who is a younger brother to Emola, went by road to Bayelsa. When we arrived at our destination, four strangers from another gang in the state joined us and they were armed with AK-47 rifles.
After the final plan had been made, Macaulay ferried his passengers far into the sea and only stopped after Shehu had pointed out the ship to him. While the latter led the way and went on board the ship with all the other robbers, Macaulay stayed behind in the boat in the event of a need for a quick getaway.
He said, “To the casino best of my knowledge, I don’t think anyone was shot, though I didn’t go on board the ship with them. Indeed, there was a lot of money on the ship and my share was $10m.”
The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr. Umaru Manko, confirmed Macaulay’s arrest. He said, “Sometime in March, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad received a tip-off from a concerned citizen on Macaulay’s activities. Macaulay was trailed to a hotel at Ajegunle, where he spent the night. He was arrested the next morning with the assistance of policemen from the Tolu Police Division on Temidire Street in the Olodi-Apapa area on his way to see his family.
“Macaulay made confessional statements regarding the robbery attack at sea near Bayelsa State and the part he played in it. The suspect and his gang robbed the oil dealers of the sum of $100m and Macaulay’s share of the money was $10m.
“With his share, he registered an oil and gas firm named Eddy and Sons Oil and Gas for N1.5m, bought an Isuzu Sport Utility Vehicle and a Toyota Sienna car for N5m, and two plots of land at Igbokoda in Ondo State for N2m. In addition, he owns a twin building of four flats at Abiola Farm in Ayobo, Ipaja, that is currently under construction.
“After the robbery, Emola, and there other members of the gang, namely Shehu, Tosin and Nansiri moved from their former places of residence. They are all on the run. Shehu was the one who informed Emola about the oil dealers. He worked with a company based in Bayelsa State, which supplied food to ships on the high seas.
“Shehu’s company had supplied food items to that particular ship and that was how he got the information that the oil dealers had in their possession a large sum of money. Investigation is on to apprehend the fleeing members of the gang. That is the only way to determine if any of the victims was shot during the robbery.”
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