by Adeola Balogun
Three suspected robbers were on Friday beaten up and stripped naked in Cross River after it was alleged that they attempted to rob a woman of N1.5 million.
The suspects, 2 females and their male counterpart were apprehended by passers-by in Calabar, the state capital, after a taxi driver got wind of their plan to rob the woman.
The woman was ambushed by the gang on leaving a bank where she had withdrawn the money and when she realized their plan she raised an alarm which the vigilant taxi driver heard and responded to.
Nigerian Eye reports:
The three suspects operating in a Golf car were accosted by a taxi driver at about 4pm along the Murtala Muhammed Highway by the Cross River State new secretariat, while their driver and one other suspect escaped.
The gang reportedly ambushed the businesswoman who had gone to withdraw the N1.5 million at a bank along Calabar Road, near the Watt market, where they approached her to join their cab and the woman who appeared eager to arrive home because of the money she had withdrawn immediately accepted and boarded the taxi.
Trouble started as she got to her destination and discovered that the taxi driver became unwilling to allow her alight from the vehicle. The robbery suspects were said to have brought out guns and asked her to cooperate with them if she did not want to get hurt.
The victim told newsmen, “The suspects told me to cooperate with them and quietly hand over the N1.5 million or I would be killed.” She said she suddenly became “angry in the spirit because this money is contribution money and my members who want to share the money on Sunday so they could get their Christmas things early would not believe me. So I was ready to die and began to raise alarm in the vehicle and calling for help”.
She said her shouts attracted the attention of a taxi driver who decided to give the Golf car a hot chase until he overtook and blocked the vehicle at Atekong Drive”.
The driver of the five-man gang and another suspect escaped by quickly alighting from the car and running across the highway and then jumping the perimeter fence of the new secretariat. She added, “These two ladies were apprehended by the people who came to see what was the trouble between the two taxis. They began to beat them when they heard what they had done to me.”
The suspects who were thoroughly beaten and stripped were later handed over to police who came to the scene. Sources learnt that the ladies confessed that they were students of Ebonyi State University and members of a syndicate which left Abakaliki in Ebonyi State to Aba in Abia State.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations officer of the State Police Command, Mr. Hoggan Bassey confirmed that the three suspects were in police custody, saying they would soon be charged to court.
His words, “nemesis has caught up with them. They are being investigated and so far they have confessed that they used to hang around bank premises with their car, shouting one chance, one chance and waiting for people coming out of the bank with money.
“The Cross River State police commissioner Shola Shodipo has promised armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals a raw deal this Christmas season. Cross River State is the most peaceful state in Nigeria and we are prepared to compromise the crime free status of the state.”