Twenty-six-year old Nsika Akpan had a lot going for him. Akpan is good looking and excels in everything he sets his mind to do.
One of the things he set mind on was to dedicate his life to God. This occurred after a neighbour preached to him and invited him to church. He gave his life to God.
Since then, there had been no looking back for him. He had joined the church drama group and embarked on several morning evangelism where, according to him, “I won so many souls for God”.
Suddenly, for reasons he could not fathom even now, he derailed from his Godly ways and took to crime like duck to water.
Asked why he abandoned God, Akpan bowed his head down for minutes as he fought back tears.
In an emotion laden voice, he said: “I left God and Church because my neighbour who took me to church became too jealous of me. I’m however suffering today in police custody because God is angry with me and is punishing me. I recalled that after I left God, a man of God called and told me that I would suffer for it. That God would punish me. I didn’t believe him then, but now, I believe him! If there’s a second chance, I’d liked to reaffirm my faith in God.”
Akpan was arrested along with two other suspects – Nsidewu Akpan, 24, and Friday Otu, 25.
The three of them are from Cross Rivers State.
After their arrest, the police recovered a police AK47 rifle from the gang. The police believed that the suspects killed the owner of the gun and made away with it.
Also recovered from them was an English double barrel gun, cut down to size.
It was learnt that the gang comprised of eight members, but police has just the three men in custody for now, while the hunt for others continue.
Detectives attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, Lagos State further discovered that on February 1, 2014 at about 7:30pm, the gang stormed a building located at Old Ojo Road, Agboju, where they attacked one Agedo Sunday, a brewery dealer.
The gang said that it attacked Sunday because “we got information that he had millions in his car. When we attacked him, there was no money in his car. He took us to the brewery and we got just N800,000.”
According to the police, the three suspects went for the operation on a motorbike.
After dispossessing the victim of his money at gun point, they disappeared on their motorbike. They also took the man’s Liberty jeep with them. They later abandoned the jeep along the road.
On February 26, 2014, the gang prepared for another operation, after using N200,000 from the N800,000 to rent a rifle. Their informant informed that a Diamond Bank customer had N18 million his possession.
They were however shocked when policemen surrounded them around Ilasamaja area of the metropolis.
Investigation revealed that Officer-in-Charge of SARS, Abba Kyari, got a tip-off about the gang’s planned operation and laid ambush.
The OC SARS ordered a decoy team, led by a police officer simply known as ‘Authourity,’ to tail the suspects. It was after the police surrounded and searched their vehicle that the slain policeman’s rifle was discovered. The English double barrel cut to size gun, with cartridges and AK47 rifle’s ammunition concealed in a travelling bag were recovered.
Assorted charms were also allegedly discovered on the men.
Nsidewu who said he is a professional footballer and belongs and plays for two clubs, said he never planned to go into robbery, but only did that after his friend, Bashiru, told him about a guy he found under a bridge.
He and Bashiru used to work in Flower Mills before they both quit.
Nsidewu said: “Bashiru told me about a man who has money, that we should collect the money. I told him that I’ll tell my friend, who had a gun and find out if the gun was still with him. I told Bashiru that I would get back to him.”
Recalling how they attacked Sunday, the brewery dealer, Nsidewu said they attacked at about 8pm, just when the man was about to enter his car.
“But the money was not in his car. We took him back to the company at gun point and collected N800.000. We were supposed to rob a man at Ilasamaja of N18 million,” narrated Nsidewu.
He continued: “The information we got was that the man sells iron rods and had just returned from overseas. We were in a friend’s borrowed Camry car and were heading for the operation when police surrounded us. We were all shocked! I don’t know why I left my football to join robbery! It’s Devil’s doing.”
Stating his own side of the story, Otu said that he used to sell salt at boundary market, in Ajegunle before he took to crime.
Otu, who is the only son of his mother, since his father died, revealed that he dropped out of his school when he was in Junior Secondary School.
The suspect, who added that his mother sells sachet water to take care of him and his only sister, added: “I decided to join robbery after my landlord gave me quit notice and I desperately needed money. I lived in one-room apartment and the rent was N24,000 per annum.”
He explained that after brain storming for a solution to his accommodation problem, he had decided to visit a club known as Phase 2, located at Tolu Complex.
Otu added: “It was there I met a friend of mine. We used to call him T-boy. We grew up together and it had been long since we last saw each other. We had a lot of catching up to do. We got talking and he told me that he was into robbery. We exchanged phone numbers and went our different ways.”
When he got home, he told his friend Nsidewu, who now told him about Bashiru who had brought information that a guy had money, which they could go to snatch.
“It was from the N800,000 we got from the brewery robbery that we rented a rifle for N200,000 from T-boy for the second operation.”