By Chiemelie Ezeobi

 


Detectives attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Tuesday arrested three more suspects – Uche Okeagbu, Emmanuel Ezeani and Chinonso Nwuangwu, in connection with the serial robbery attack in Lagos on September 9, 2012.

Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Umar Manko

The police also recovered a large cache of ammunitions including a rocket propelled grenade launcher, 225 AK 47 magazines fully loaded, over 10,000 rounds of AK 47 live ammunition, two general purpose machine guns, 260 rounds of GPMG live ammunition, five dynamites with detonator and nine AK 47 machines.

Led by the Officer in Charge, Sp Abba Kyari, the crack team from SARS also impounded two Volkswagen buses with registration numbers LSD 467 AR and AGL 506 XB, parked at Okeagbu’s residence at Ajangbadi.

THISDAY gathered that the suspects had neatly concealed their weaponry within dug out holes at the bottom of the buses.

Their arrest was not unconnected with the robbery incidents that occurred simultaneously in different parts of the state which left three policemen and a civilian dead.

THISDAY gathered that the suspects were arrested at their hideout at Ajangbadi on Monday, September 23, 2012, following a tip off to SARS by undisclosed sources.

The three suspects are purportedly members of a group who had robbed several Bureau de change operators in the Gbagada, Agege, Anthony, Ojodu, Itire, Ikeja and Ilasamaja areas of the state.

According to the police, the confessional statements by 23-year-old Okeagbu led to the recovery of a large cache of ammunitions; one rocket propel grenade launcher, 225 AK 47 magazines fully loaded, over 10,000 rounds of AK 47 live ammunition, two general purpose machine guns, 260 rounds of GPMG live ammunition, five dynamites with detonator and nine AK 47 machines.

Prior to his foray into criminal activities, Okeagbu said he was once based in Port Harcourt as an oil dealer before he was introduced by a friend to this gang.

He said: “I have been with them for a while and during the time; I went with them for four operations at Ibadan where I got N500, 000 as my share. Another operation at Uyo earned me N800, 000.

“I earned another N800, 000 for the First Bank robbery at Shere, Kwara State and N100, 000 for the Lagos robbery, all of which took place this year. In all these operations, the targets were banks which we robbed successfully. I never went with the group into the banks. I always stayed back with the driver in the car because I was scared but I didn’t go with the gang when they raided Lagos three weeks ago,” he said.

In his confessional statement, another suspect, Nwangwu, who is 23 years old, admitted to have been involved in four different robbery operations in the last two years, including banks in Akure, Osogbo, Okene and Auchi.

He said he merely drove the suspects to operations, stating that: “I just drove them to where ever they had an operation. I used to be an oil dealer in Port Harcourt before I joined the gang but I have stopped going with them for operations for a while now. I felt bad about what I was doing.”

Confirming the arrests, the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Umar Manko, said the suspects belonged to the same group, who had terrorised Lagos some few weeks ago.

He said: “We have been on their trail ever since. After the Lagos operation, the group proceeded to Ilorin where they robbed a bank and attacked a police station. The command made a commitment to get these robbers so that our colleagues who died on that day would not have died in vain and we have done so.

“We are still on the trail of the remaining members of the gang. Aside from the arms and ammunitions recovered, we also seized a Toyota Camry car belonging to the gang. This car was fitted with sensors and camera. That way, the robbers could monitor whatever was going on behind them.”

He added: “I would also like to say that since the September 9 robbery operations that the command has not recorded any other robbery incident. There have been robbery attempts in several parts of the state but these have been quelled by the police. I encourage the public to continue to come forward with useful information of any suspicious activity around them because that was how we were tipped off about these suspects.”

 

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