Charm makes me invisible to security operatives — Gang leader

A 35-year-old gang leader, Ehuiwe Akire, who specialised in trailing bank customers and dispossessing them of their money, has confessed that charms recovered from him used to make him invisible to security agents.
Akire said he started his life of crime as a local, and then slowly moved on to become a leader of a gang of bank robbers.
Akire was arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team in Lagos State, headed by a Chief Superintendent of Police, Philip Rieninwa.
The police explained that Akire is the leader of a six-man gang of robbers.
The gang was formed in prison.
The police said: “The gang specialised in robbing bank customers who go to banks to withdraw huge amount of money.
“The gang used to snatch the cash, handbags and phones.
“The gang also used to rob passengers on highways.
“Most of these passengers are those returning from long distant journey.”
Akire grew up in Ajegunle area of Lagos State.
It was in that community that he took to crime like duck to water.
He and his gang members were alleged to have been among suspected criminals terrorising Apapa, Festac, Mushin and Surulere areas in Lagos State.
The suspect said: “We used to rob customers in beer parlour and people who go to cybercafés to do transactions.”
Akire, who operated with two Beretta Pistols, said he had never killed.
He said: “We only carry guns to intimidate people and make them to know that we meant business.
We want them to quickly cooperate and comply with our instructions.”
According to the police, Akire was arrested on January 16, 2020 along Isheri-Igando Road when he and his gang members went on operation at about 4:30pm.
It was on that operation that Akire was arrested, while five of his gang members escaped.
The gang members were on three operational motorcycles.
The gang members were alleged to have engaged policemen in a shootout, but they were overpowered.
“The police recovered two pistols and charms from them.
The Police disclosed that Akire and his gang members had been on Police Wanted List for long.
It was gathered that the gang had been declared wanted for robbery.
Akire, who revealed he has one daughter, said he had separated from his wife.
He said that his wife left him after she found out that he was “a common thief.”
He said: “I stopped my education at primary six.
“I learnt bricklayer, but I was not making enough money.
“When all efforts I made to get money to stand on my own failed, I took to stealing.
“At times, when shop owners are sleeping, I’ll sneak into their shops and steal handsets, money from drawers and other things of value.
“I was making big money, but I couldn’t save.
“I became a womaniser and started taking women to hotels.
“I lived a reckless life.”
The gang leader explained that the separation from his wife made to dive further into crime, with a stiff determination to make it big in life.
He said: “The opportunity to make it big came when I was arrested by policemen from Adeniji Adele Police Station.
“I was arrested and charged to court.
“It was in prison that hardened inmates taught me how to rob in order to make big money.”
Akire recalled that there was a time he was also arrested operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
He was also sent to prison.
His words: “It was in prison that I met an inmate named Festus.
“He initiated me into the world of robbery.
“Let me tell you the truth: it was after I joined cultism that I became hardened.
“I joined the Eiye Confraternity.
“I bought two guns for the cult group and later bought one for myself.
“It was cultism that made to have gut to carry gun around and go for operations.
“We’re a six-man gang of armed robbers.
“We operate in Apapa, Festac, Mushin and Surulere.
“If we want to rob, carry out robbery in banks, our member, Festus, will pose like a bank customer that wants to make a withdrawal.
“He’ll enter the banking hall and start to monitor the people that came to withdraw huge sums of money.”
He further explained that while Festus was inside the banking hall, checking out prospective victims, other members would be outside, waiting for him and his signal.
Akire said: “Once the target had withdrawn money and goes out, Festus follows closely.
“The moment the victim comes out, Festus will signal the gang members outside, by cleverly pointing at the victim.
“When the victim enters taxi or commercial motorcycle, our members outside the bank, who are already on their motorcycles will start trailing him until they get to the point, were they would accost the victim and collect the money from him.”
Akire recalled that his first victim in a robbery operation was a female, adding: “It was Festus that brought the girl as a target.
“He knew her very well.
“We robbed her.”
Akire, who explained that sometimes in the course a gang member could be forced to team up with other gangs for operation, disclosed that he has operated with three gangs.
He said: “I like holding two pistols just to play big boy.
“Even when we go out for highway operations, I don’t use the guns on human beings.
“Rather I use the butts of the guns to hit the body of a car of a victim, just to put fear into him or her.
“Such moves used to make robbery operations easy.
“When there’s no robbery operation, I steal just to raise little money to keep body and soul together.”
Akire said whenever police arrested any of their members, others would flee and go underground until the dust has settle.
He said: “We have to go into hiding because we know that police would want to use the arrested gang member to catch fleeing members.”
He said even as they were running for their lives, they sometimes run to other states for refuge.
In those states, they may locate old gang members and team up with them for operations.
Akire said: “If one runs to another state and meets his members, they reunite and plan to work together because they would understand themselves more than the people they had not worked with before.
“When I started robbery, gang leaders should to bench me because I didn’t have a gun.
“Possession of a gun finally placed me in a higher class.
“I became respected and an authority.”
Speaking about the charms that police recovered from him, Akire claimed that it used to make him invisible.
He recounted: “Before I went fully into armed robbery, I was a smuggler.
“I used to carry contraband goods into Nigeria.
“Whenever I used the charm, customs officers wouldn’t be able to see me.
“The same with the police; they wouldn’t see me, let alone to arrest me.
“I’ve vowed to God that if I regain my freedom, I will never take anything that belongs to my fellow human being by force anymore.
“I will not rob again.
“I have not been able to save any money from robbery.
“My lifestyle doesn’t allow me to save.
“I sleep in hotels, stay in beer parlours and carry prostitutes.
“I pay for hotel accommodation daily, drink beer and smoke marijuana.
“At times, we used to go to other states to operate when security in Lagos becomes too tight.
“We used to go to Republic of Benin to rob or hide.
“Sometimes we escape there to hide.
“I used to make N20,000, N40,000, N150,000 and N250,000 in an operation.
“But the highest share I had got in after a robbery operation was N1.2 million.
“I used the money to buy two plots of lands inside a bush for N250,000 each.”