Three of the six robbery suspects who attacked and robbed the family of a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Bayo Lawal, in Ilorin recently have been apprehended.
The suspects – Samuel Olawale, Segun Ogunjobi (a barber) and Alhaji Danjuma Abu – who were paraded with others before journalists by the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Salihu Garba, claimed to have been influenced by friends to take part in the robbery.
Olawale, a furniture maker, and Ogunjobi said they came from Lagos to Ilorin during the last Sallah celebration but ended up robbing Lawal’s wife.
They all claimed that the robbery was the first operation they engaged in and regretted their actions, vowing that they would never rob again if they were left off the hook.
“I live at Ojuelegba in Lagos. I only came here for visit when a friend lured me into taking part in this robbery. I have never robbed before, I am just a barber in Lagos,” Ogunjobi said.
Olawale, a Kogi State indigene, also explained that he joined the robbery gang after his friends convinced him to take part in the operation.
He said, “My friends initiated me into the act. Six of us carried out the robbery but only three of us were apprehended. The others ran away. I am a furniture maker in Lagos.
“I came to Ilorin for the Sallah celebration but I thought I could make some money before going back to Lagos. That is why I agreed to take part in the robbery. I really regretmy action now.”
Garba said the professor reported penultimate Monday that around 2.30am, his house was invaded by a six-man robbery gang, who took away wristwatches, cameras, clothes and jewellery.
The CP said Lawal’s wife was devastated because of the attack. He added that exhibits recovered from the suspects include nine wrist watches; two cameras, one white garment and jewellery. Garba said, “These suspects are members of the same gang that has been perpetrating terror in Ilorin. Some of them have just been released from prison and they are back at it again.
“We also recovered the weapons they used. We still have previous weapons we recovered from the same gang in the past.”
The commissioner said on the same night the professor’s family was robbed, the suspects and two others at large – Saka Busari and Mohammed Umar – invaded a house at Gaa Akanbi area of Ilorin at about 3.30am and robbed Mr. Ibrahim Fatai at gunpoint and took away a Toyota Highlander SUV with registration number APP 831 CC; N1.1m some recharge cards worth N1,800; BlackBerry phone, home theatre; clothes, shoes and jewellery.
Recovered from the suspects were a revolver pistol; four rounds of live 9mm ammunitions; four wristwatches and three sets of women jewellery.
He stated that investigation by men of the State Anti-Robbery Squad led to the arrest of the suspects at the point of selling off the Toyota Highlander SUV.
According to him, the police were on the trail of the suspects who fled while the arrested ones would soon be charged to court.
In another case, Garba said on October 12, Mariam Aminu of Adele Lane, Kulende Estate in Ilorin metropolis reported that her residence was attacked by two suspected robbers – Ahmed Alabu and Ibrahim Raji – who were armed with guns, axes and cutlasses.
The Commissioner said the suspects carted away N50,000, gold jewellery valued at N450,000; a Samsung Galaxy phone valued at N28,000, one BlackBerry Z10 phone valued at N98,000 and another BlackBerry phone valued atN 48,000. The suspects also took away a hand purse and gold wedding ring.
He stated that the suspects had since confessed to the crime after they were arrested.
In a related development, last Saturday at about 10.45pm, a gang of eight armed robbers invaded the Apostolic of Christ Church, Iluteju Oko-Erin area of the state and took away N308,000, a phone and gold jewellery.
A suspect, Abdullahi Muhammed, has been arrested in connection with the robbery while the police are on the trail of seven other suspects who have fled.
In another case involving a suspect identified as Mutari Ibrahim and Suraju Seidu, the police said a new unregistered Bajaj motorcycle was recovered from them, which they later confessed that they had stolen at gun point in Akinyele area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
Garba has however appealed to the public to complement police efforts in the fight against crime.
Garba said, “Help us tell our young men to avoid crime. Joining a cult group to get good grades in school is just a lie.
“Many times, rather than making good grades, they end up dying or being maimed in violent clashes with opposing fraternities.
“If any cult member is arrested with firearm or is said to be involved in murder, we would prosecute the person without delay. Parents should join us in the campaign against crime so that young people will refrain from such criminal indulgences.”