Friday, 11 May 2012

My Father Introduced Me To Armed Robbery –23 Year Old Robber

A member of a suspected three-man robbery gang, 23-year-old Nurudeen Saka, an indigene of Osun State detained by operatives of SARS of the Lagos State Police Command, has said he was lured into armed robbery by his biological father.

Nurudeen said he stopped going to school because his father wanted him to. “He told me that the richest man in our village was an illiterate, yet he built the best house and was even begged to be conferred with a chieftaincy title because of his stinking wealth. My father said that even people with Master’s and Doctorate degrees were begging to work in his company.
"He said people in the community knew that the man in question was a criminal until he hit money and opted out of armed robbery.
“He also told me that my mother was not the only woman he married and that the other women had children for him too. Hence, he said I should help myself. He said since his mother and father did not enjoy anything from him, he too was not expecting anything from his children. He told me that robbery was a risk worth taking because of the quick money that could come from it.

“I did my best to further my education through self-help before I decided to learn driving so that I would look for a commercial bus to drive until the day God would bless me with wealth. Unfortunately, after learning how to drive, I could not get a bus to drive. One day, a bus driver called Sharp, I don’t know his real name, hired me to be his conductor. But in spite of my working hard for him, he would not accommodate me in his rented apartment somewhere in Oshodi area of Lagos.

Then one night, a thief who was being pursued by a crowd ran past the bus I slept in. When his pursuers could not catch him, they became angry and wondered how the thief could disappear like that. Then they saw me inside the bus, dragged me out and gave me the beating of my life. When I told them that my master was the one who told me to sleep in the bus, they dragged me to his room and warned him to stop telling me to sleep in the bus. From that day, I started sleeping at the backyard of the building.

One day, as I was sleeping in the compound at about 3.30 am, Sharp and his gang members came in and started sharing money, handsets, wrist watches and other valuable items they had snatched from people. They were five in number and two of them held locally made pistols. When they noticed my presence, they told Sharp to drive me away from his compound. Sharp did not only drive me away, he also sacked me as his conductor.

That was how I started sleeping under the bridge at Oshodi. There were about 20 of us under the bridge. Some of them were hawkers of pure water, others were conductors, drivers, motor touts and members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) who loaded vehicles at the park.

“Under the bridge, we lived a communal life that encouraged sharing. We smoked Indian hemp together and ate together. My only ugly experience with them was that the sum of N7,000 I hid in my pant was stolen the first night I got there. I later learnt that every new arrival experienced it and they called it ‘baptism’.

Some of us also worked as thugs for bigwigs who came to the spot from time to time to hire us. A percentage of the money they realised was used to maintain the colony, especially when the Police threatened to raid the place or security guards at the market threatened to portray them badly before traders.

“Some of us also waited for robbery gangs whose leaders normally came to recruit people for robbery operations. I belonged to the group that waited for jobs from robbery gangs. It was here that I met our gang leader who I knew simply as Scorpion and another member I knew as Pepper. They gave me the name Ologbo, the Yoruba name for cat. We became close friends. At times, Scorpion would come with N100,000, N50,000 or N200,000 and take me out for enjoyment. In the end, I would have about N20,000 or more in my pocket.

“On March 19, at about 7pm, Scorpioni and Pepper came and engaged me in a smoking and drinking spree for about one hour. It was a Monday and I expected Scorpion to give me some money like he used to do, but he did not. Instead, he said they would take me out to find money. When I asked him how, he said he would buy a pair of slippers and razor blade with which we would fabricate something that would look like a short gun.

He said people are so afraid of gun that the moment it was pointed at somebody in the night, he or she would think it was a real gun. Within some minutes, he came back with the slippers and razor blade. He fabricated the gun and gave it to Pepper. I did not know that he had a real short gun in his pocket until we reached Abule Egba. It was Pepper that carried Scorpion and I on a motorcycle.

“On getting to Olaniyi Street, off New Oko Oba Road, Abule-Egba, we saw a man in a Rav4 Jeep discussing with a woman we suspected was his wife. That was at about 9 pm. Scorpion ordered Pepper to stop. As soon as he stopped, he and I rushed towards the jeep. Scorpion banged at the door, the man opened. He brought out a pistol and pointed it at the man. He ordered him to come down with the woman. Later, Scorpion ordered the man to enter the back seat with his woman. With Scorpion by my side, I took over the steering and drove off while Pepper followed us on his motorcycle.

“When we got to Ile-Epo Market, I dropped the man and his woman and continued towards Oshodi. When we got to Cappa near Fatai Atere Way, I parked the jeep on the first street where trailers are usually parked. Scorpion then started calling a buyer we knew as Jamiu, but Jamiu asked us to come the following day. The following day, we called him but his line was not going through.

“Scorpion told me to continue trying his number and to take the jeep to him and collect money since he and Pepper had planned to go to Cotonou (Benin Republic) the following day. I called again and Jamiu’s line went through. He told me to come and collect the money at National area of Agege. On getting there, I was arrested by SARS operatives. I did not know that Jamiu had already been arrested.

“When I asked Jamiu what happened, he said trouble started when he called somebody to buy the jeep so that he would be able to give me the money. Unknown to him, after telling the buyer to pay N350,000 for a Rav4 Jeep worth over N2 million, he alerted the officer in charge of SARS, Abba Kyari who came with five of his men and asked Jamiu to tell me to come and collect the money. I was immediately handcuffed and brought to SARS’ office.

“I am a Muslim. I pray five times a day. I cannot rob in the North because they will cut off my hand if I am caught. If I regain my freedom, I will go and tell my friends under the Oshodi bridge to find a legal means of livelihood.”

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