A robbery suspect, Friday Olute, has revealed to operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team how he became a “worker” for an inmate serving at the Ikoyi Prison, Lagos State.
According to Olute, he met his “boss,” Lukmon, in prison after he was arrested, charged and remanded for fighting an official of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority.
Olute became fascinated with Lukmon when he watched and noticed how he lived lavishly in prison like a king.
He said: “While I was in prison, I met Lukmon. He lived like a king even in prison. Lukmon has several contacts with people outside prison. He was even buying commercial buses for people outside. I approached Lukmon and we became friends. I told him that I wanted him to connect me with his friends outside, to help me get a bus. After the court discharged and freed me, I contacted the person that Lukmon linked me up with. The guy’s name is Owolabi. When I met the man, he gave me two locally made guns and 10 cartridges. He informed me that Lukmon wanted me to go into town and snatch cars for him.”
Police have alleged that Olute and his cohorts were part of the gangs terrorizing people on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway. He and his gang members were alleged to specialise in dispossessing motorists of their cars, phones, laptops and cash. Those arrested with him are Kingsley Sabastine, Gafaru Rasaq and Musa Hassan. They were arrested after they snatched a Toyota Corolla Saloon car from its owner, identified simply as Ifeanyi, at Igando area of Lagos State.
Olute and gang’s waterloo began after Ifeanyi petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, revealing how his car was snatched at gunpoint and demanding that his car be found and the robbers arrested.
Olute, a professional commercial bus driver, has also been alleged to be the leader of the gang. He said that after his encounter with the LASTMA official, he was remanded in Ikoyi Prison and spent a year and six months there.
Olute said: “Owolabi told me that whenever I delivered good cars to him, Lukmon would buy me a bus to start a commercial bus business. I accepted the deal and took the guns to look for my friends at Alaba Rago. Before I went to prison, my friends, Sabastine, Rasaq, Hassan and I were into traffic robbery. We used to attack motorists who were held up in traffic. Whenever we targeted a vehicle, we would smash the windscreen and dispossess the occupants of their valuables. We operated mainly along Lagos Badagry Expressway. We usually threaten our victims with knives.
“The money we used to make from traffic robbery was insignificant. So I convinced my gang members to join me in car snatching. I told them that with the guns Lukmon contact gave us, we could snatch several vehicles and change our lives for the better. We had this meeting at Alaba Rago. We carried out our first robbery operation two days later at Igando area. I can’t remember the exact bus stop, but we were on a motorbike, heading towards Ikotun direction. We sighted the Toyota Corolla car. I had one of the guns, while Sabastian had the second one. We surrounded the car and forced the owner out of it. We zoomed off with the car.”
The gang later took the car to Owolabi. He picked Iyano-Sashi Bus Stop as meeting point for the pick-up of the car.
“Owolabi collected the car and told us to get more cars. He said that he would take the car to Benin Republic. He didn’t pay us. We went out the next day and snatched another vehicle at Okokomaiko. We gave the car to Owolabi, and again he refused to pay us. My gang members became angry with me. Each time I call Owolabi, he would say he was yet to sell the car. While we were waiting for him to bring our money, police came and arrested us. I was the first person arrested. I led police to arrest others. The police didn’t know that I had stolen more than one vehicle. They tracked me through the first car I snatched,” said Olute.
Corroborating Olute’s story, Sabastian said Owolabi deceived and made them to snatch cars for him and Lukmon without paying a dime.
Sabastian said: “I am not into car snatching. I am a commercial bus driver like my friend, Olute. We used to rob motorists on traffic before Olute went to prison. After he was arrested, I stopped robbery. We later regrouped after he came out from prison. He came with guns. I joined him because I needed money. He told me about Lukmon, who he met in the prison. Olute said that Lukmon used to assist people. He said that Lukmon promised to buy us a commercial bus if we snatched cars for him. The man gave us two guns and I was left with no choice than to join Olute in the operation. The guy called Owolabi, who we gave the cars, refused to pay us. He was very greedy. I hope the police arrest him soon. All the vehicles we stole are with him! He didn’t pay us a dime!”