Four men, two among them twin brothers, have confessed to how posing as soldiers, using camouflages and their fathers’ identity cards, made it so easy to fool Nigerians and then rob them.
The bursting of the gang was led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, who is also the leader of the IRT Unit.
The suspects: Taiwo and Kehinde Ojomo, Emmanuel Bamidele and Peter Samuel, all children of retired Soldiers, were arrested by Operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team in Lagos State.
The gang members confessed to have used their retired fathers’ identity cards and uniforms to hoodwink and rob Nigerians.
The police stated that the gang specialised in car snatching and robbing unsuspecting bus passengers of their valuables, using a locally made gun and military uniforms.
They were arrested in a hotel in the Idimu area of the metropolis.
The downfall of the gang began after one of their victims, Abiodun Sadiq, a resident of Bariga, Lagos State, who was robbed of his Toyota Corolla Saloon car and other valuables at gunpoint in August 2020, petitioned a former Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, about the incident.
The police said: “When our men commenced investigations, they had difficulty in arresting the suspects as they continued to hide at the Ojo and Ikeja military cantonments.
“After months of investigations, our operatives switched it focus and went after persons buying the stolen items from the suspects at Alaba International Market.
“We arrested and made them to organise a rendezvous for us.
“The robbers were told that we had a big robbery operation for them and they agreed to meet at a hotel located in Idimu.
“When we got there, we found them seated and drinking.
“We arrested four of them.”
One of the twins, Taiwo, 29, accused his brother, Kehinde, of luring him into robbery.
He disclosed that he and his brother decided to form their own separate gangs because they didn’t want police to arrest them at one fell swoop.
Unfortunately, that was what eventually happened.
Taiwo said: “I reside close to Ikeja cantonment area.
“My father was a retired soldier while my mother works with Lagos State Waste Management Agency.
“I attended Nigeria Army Children School in Ikeja and dropped out of secondary school because there was no money.
“In order to survive, I learnt how to drive and began to drive soldiers around.
“On the day I was arrested, I was in a hotel in Idimu with my twin brother, Kehinde, planning how to carry out another armed robbery attack.
“I was introduced into robbery by my twin brother, Kehinde, and we have gone for several robbery operations in Lagos.
“I later joined another gang, but whenever my brother needed me for an operation, I went to him.
“As a bus driver, we used to rob passengers early in the morning or late at night.
“Our gang members will be in the bus or we will pick them along the way.”
He further explained that Kehinde now has his own gang, while he has his.
When he was asked why they both operated different gangs, he replied: “So that we wouldn’t be caught at the same time by the police.”
Revealing their Modus Operandi, Taiwo said one of their members used to wear camouflage, fooling and pulling passengers into a false sense of security.
His words: “Just because of the camouflage our members wore, our target or targets would assume it was safe to board the bus, believing the soldiers in camouflage would protect them.
“We normally use this method of operation along lonely routes like Abeokuta Expressway, LASU-Igando route and Ikorodu Road.
“The highest I had made after a robbery operation was N100,000.”
Taiwo further stated that it was Samuel, one of the gang members, that was in charge of selling items snatched from victims robbery operations.
He mentioned that Samuel had many customers at the Alaba International Market, where valuables like phones and other electronic gadgets were easily sold.
“I do not know these buyers, but Bamidele Emmanuel known as DPO and Babangida know them.
“The weapon we use during operations belong to us because we all contributed money to buy it.
“It was actually one Alfred, residing in Cotonou, who bought and brought the gun to Nigeria for us.
“We used to hide our weapons inside my car so that when police search our house, they wouldn’t find anything.
“The police forced me to show them where it was hidden.
“I kept it under the dash board.
“I know it’s shameful that my brother and I are robbers.
“Police should please forgive us.”
Stating his own side of the story, Kehinde said: “I reside inside Ojo barracks.
“Taiwo is my twin brother and both of us dropped out of secondary school after our father died.
“My mother couldn’t afford to train us and I was sent to learn how to repair vehicles, which I did for years until I met one Cyril, who later became my best friend.
“We formed a three-man gang.
“Other members of the gang are Magajia and Cyril.
“I was the one who introduced my twin brother into robbery.
“He kept asking where I got money, so I had no choice than to show him the way.
“Along the line, we felt it was necessary to form different gangs, so that police wouldn’t catch us together.
“Unfortunately, the day I wanted to help his gang was the day police arrested us.
“We have attacked and robbed people several times along Oshodi-Bridge at night.
“It was there that we snatched the Toyota Corona car, which my brother is presently using.”
Kehinde explained that the camouflages, which were recovered by the police, were being used by the gang members to deceive and rob people.
He also said: “The truth, however, is that nobody among us is a soldier.
“I used my late father’s identity card to pass any point whenever people or police challenged me.
“I thank God that we have not killed anyone since we started our operations.”
Remembering how they snatched Abiodun Sadiq’s Toyota Corolla car at Oshodi, Kehinde recalled: “We flagged down the Toyota Corolla car at Oshodi and begged him to take us to Iyana Oba.
“We also told him that we were ready to pay.
“I was pushed into crime because of greed.
“I’m ready to help police arrest the rest of our gang members if they’ll forgive me.”
Peter Samuel, 22, a shoe cobbler, said he lost his mom when he was a teenager.
He lives with his brothers and sisters at Ikorodu.
He narrated: “My father is a retired Army Officer and while he was in service, he served at the Ikeja Military Cantonment.
“He’s presently working as a security guard at Ajah area of the metropolis.
“I met Kehinde four years ago and he’s my best friend.
“Our gang members used to meet at an Indian hemp joint at Oshodi to smoke and discuss the way forward.
“It was two months ago that Kehinde told me he wanted to snatch a car for our usual robbery operation.
“We took a toy gun and at about 9pm, we stopped a cab driver and told him that we were going to Iyana-Oba.
“To further convince him, we paid the cost of the fare without haggling.
“Along the way, close to Mile 2 Bridge, we forced him to stop and snatched his car.
“That was how Kehinde got his own car.
“We did several operations before I decided to be on my own.
“We had to part because we started arguing over sharing formulas.
“I formed my own gang and we were able to snatch one sienna bus.
“Unfortunately, police saw where it was parked and confiscated it.
“We couldn’t go to the station to claim it because we didn’t have the documents.”
Emmanuel Bamidele, 29, an electrician, said: “I live at the Ojo Army Barracks.
“I was also at the hotel when the police came and arrested us.
“I started armed robbery in 2016.
“My father is also a retired soldier but we were allowed to live in the barracks after his retirement.
“My gang members are David, Cletus, Taiwo and Kehinde.
“I have robbed several persons and I had been arrested once by the police at Area B, Police Command.
“I was taken to prison, where I spent months over the same offence.
“After I was released, I went back to my gang.
“We used the military uniforms to deceive our passengers and then robbed them.”