One of the three suspects arrested for robbing women in order to dispossess them of their vehicles have confessed that he took to the crime after losing N6 million in sports betting.
The suspect, Ego Ike, said he returned from Turkey with N6 million, but gambled all away.
According to Ike, he used the whole money on sports’ betting.
After that, he took to crime and focused on robbing women because they didn’t put up much resistance while being robbed.
He was arrested along with two of his gang members, Obinna Igwe and Adamu Nuhu, 19.
Ike said: “I pressured my father until he agreed to sell his only piece of land in the village.
“He sold it and sent me to Istanbul Turkey.
“I lived and worked in Istanbul for three years and I saved N6 milion.
“I started importing clothes into Nigeria.
“I supplied several shops around Abuja and Lagos State.
“In 2016, one of my friends introduced me to sports’ betting.
“It was there I lost all my money.
“My resident permit in Istanbul got expired and I had no money to renew it.
“I became frustrated.
“I met Linus in Abuja and we became friends.
“It was Linus that introduced me into armed robbery.”
Police said the gang specialised in snatching cars from women who drive expensive cars in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Once they snatch a car, they move it to Niger Republic.
The suspects were arrested in Abuja and Kaduna State after they robbed a female staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service of her vehicle while she was returning from work.
After snatching the vehicle, a 2016 Toyota Corolla, the gang drove it to Kastina State, before it was smuggled into Niger Republic.
Incidentally, it was the FIRS’s staff car that started the downfall of the gang.
After snatching car, they moved it to Katsina State from where Yellow drove it to Niger Republic, while others returned to base.
Unfortunately for Yellow, Nigerien policemen, suspecting him as he attempted to drive through the border, arrested him.
Meanwhile, the FIRS staff and other women victims of the gang had written petitions to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
Adamu then directed his Intelligence Response Team, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to go after the gang.
The IRT operatives, after much investigation and surveillance, zeroed in on the gang and arrested three, while Linus, believed to be the gang leader, remains at large.
During their confessional statements, the suspects disclosed that they only target women “because women are easily frightened and can’t put up stiff resistance like men.”
They also disclosed that they target Toyota products because their demand in the black market was high.
Ike, a primary school dropout, was formerly a spare parts dealer at Ladipo Market, Lagos.
He later moved to Abuja in search of greener pastures.
He would later nag his father until the man sold his only piece of land to finance his trip to Turkey.
Recalling his sojourn into crime, Ike said: “Linus introduced me into robbery.
“The gang had Obinna and Yellow.
“I joined them in snatching a Toyota Rav4 from a woman driving into her house in Shafar Road, Abuja.
“We took the car to Kaduna State and gave the car to Nuhu.
“He offered to pay N200,000.
“We also accosted another woman in Buhari area of Abuja.
“She was driving a Toyota Matrix.
“She stopped in front of a shop to buy something.
“We approached and snatched her car.
“We took the car to Kaduna and sold it for N270,000.
“We didn’t know that the owner of the Toyota Matrix works with the Federal Road Safety Corps.
“The third car we stole was from a woman driving a Toyota Corolla Sport car at Kado Estate in Abuja.
“We used Yellow’s car to block the woman’s and snatched the car from the woman.
“We took the car that night to Niger Republic.
“But at the Kastina border, Linus and I came down from the car.
“We took a motorcycle into the country, while Yellow and a man I don’t know took the car into Niger Republic.
“The Nigerien police stopped and arrested them.
“We target women because we don’t use guns and women are easy catch.
“Most of them are not security conscious.”
Nuhu said he started stealing cars when he was just 17 years old.
He said: “There is this man called MD, whom I met when I was selling phones in Kaduna State.
“MD is one of my customers.
“He buys phones from me.
“There was a time in 2017 when I was attacked by armed robbers.
“All my phones were stolen.
“I approached MD to assist me because he always had money.
“He told that since I knew how to drive, he would be giving me cars to deliver for him to different states.
“He paid me between N30,000 to N40,000.
“MD gave a master key and showed me how to use it.
“The first car I stole with the master key was a Toyota Carina.
“I took the car to Kaduna and gave it to Mohammed Garuba.
“He bought it from me for N120,000.
“After then, MD called and asked me to meet Yellow.
“He said that I should collect a car from Yellow for him.
“The car had engine problem.
“We contacted Garuba and bought it for N180,000.
“I stole three other Toyota Camry cars from the market at Tuniga Maji area, along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway.
“I sold the three Toyota Camry cars to one Alhaji for N420,000 in Sokoto State.
“MD also gave me four Toyota Corolla cars to deliver to Abudul, who is a middleman between car thieves in Nigeria and receivers in Niger Republic.
“Later in September 2018, Yellow introduced me to his gang, operating mainly in Abuja, with guns.
“One of them, known as Linus, told me that he was coming with some of his brothers from Benue State.
“He said the men used to operate with AK47 rifles.
“He said that the men want to carry out robbery operation in that state, but didn’t know the terrain.
“While I was waiting for them, the police showed up and arrested me.”