The operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command, on Wednesday busted syndicates of in-traffic robbery suspects, arresting three “one–chance” robbery gangs and seven pickpockets.
They were said to be using Ajegunle as the base of their operations. As a result, two “Danfo” commercial buses used by the gangs along Oshodi – Mile 2 Expressway were recovered. The 14 – seater buses with Lagos registration numbers: KTU 716 XS and GGE 532 XL, are presently in RRS Headquarters in Alausa.
While the arrested robbers were identified as: Akeem Fatai (42), Jerry Nwokoro (24), Olayinka Tadius (29), Lucky Thompson (36), Stanley Augustine (31), Ubah Kenneth (25) and Henry Ate (48) In addition, the arrested pickpocket suspects were: Habib Nurudeen (17), Oyemi Ilesanmi (23), Kenneth Okojie (30), Chinedu Uzubi (24), Ajakaiye Christopher (26), Samson Uwaneze (23) and Wasiu Kazeem (24).
It was gathered that the suspects were picked up majorly in Ajegunle and other spots in the metropolis. Six of the suspects were picked up at hotels in Ajegunle, where they confirmed they normally lodge while others were rounded up at different bus stops along Mile 2 – Oshodi and Oshodi – Iyana Ipaja route.
The arrest of the “one – chance” syndicate and pickpockets were made possible following the tip-off from members of the public of incessant attacks of the suspects around the axis.
Confessing to the crime, one of the suspects, Henry Ate, said that they operate in shifts – morning and evening. He added that they retire to their hotels in the afternoon after morning operations and re-group later in the evening when human traffic is heaviest.
“As at the time we were arrested, more than half of us had gone out for morning shift operations. Seven of us were picked up at various bus stops in Oshodi – Mile 2 route while in operations. We know ourselves. We have no other jobs than pickpocketing. It’s what we live on”, he added.
He also disclosed that, occasionally, the teams interchange members, emphasizing that predominantly, every “one chance” team needs a driver, a conductor and a picker, who seats mostly in the last seat of the bus.
“During operations, we pick only few passengers, maybe two to four. We dispossess them of their belongings, drop them and go our way. But we don’t push them down while on motion”, he emphasized.
He also revealed that whenever he was not operating with his gang members, he operated alone in Shoprite, Alausa and Governor’s office routes pickpocketing.
One of their victims who were relieved of his things, Pastor Emeka Ndukwe, and whose phone was recovered from Christopher Ajakaiye, stated that his phone Opsson was taken from his pocket inside an Iyana Ipaja bound bus. He added that he noticed the phone was missing when he wanted to buy something.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Dolapo Badmos, who confirmed the arrest of the suspects, said that there would be no hiding place for criminals in Lagos State, adding the suspects have been charged to court.