by Zara Mustapha
A man who identified himself as Samson Eze and his gang were arrested by officers of the police force at the Idi Ayunre division, Oyo state.
Eze and his gang members reportedly specialize in highway robbery along the Oyo/Ogun area of Nigeria, attacking vehicles and dispossessing its occupants of their valuables and raping the female passengers among them, not minding their age grade.
According to reports, Eze has been ‘singing like a bird’ since his arrest, allegedly confessing all his misdeeds along with that of his gang members.
Nigerian Tribune reports:
During a press briefing at police headquarters at Eleyele, Ibadan on Wednesday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Abdulkadir Indabawa said that his men acted on a tip-off on April, at about 10.40p.m., that armed robbers had seized the Ibadan/Ijebu Ode expressway. He said that the Divisional Police Officer, one Mrs Lawal, led a team of policemen to the scene and arrested Eze Samson.
“On-the-spot-search led to the recovery of seven assorted handsets on him,” he added, which led to a suspicion that he was part of the robbery. He was found with one Honda motorcycle with registration number FEE 343 QA
The police commissioner stated further that when Eze was interrogated, he confessed his membership of a robbery and gave the name of other suspects as Ifeanyi Okorie, Ikechukwu a.k.a. IK, Legelege, Senior man and Ogor.
Crime Reports learnt that while the robbery was ongoing other road users started parking their cars to avoid being victims but were surprised when Eze went through the barricades formed by the robbers and was not in any way affected.
Opening up to Crime Reports during an interview, Eze, who lives in Ibadan but is from Enugu State “I joined robbery about three months ago through Ikechukwu a.k.a. IK from Enugu. I knew IK when I picked him as a passenger and took him to a party. From the party, he diverted to work, after he told me we were going to rob. I agreed with him.
“We usually carry out our operations along Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode expressway and Ibadan-Ijebu Ode road. We operate at midnight and would block the road with logs. We would stop any approaching vehicle and rob the occupants of their belongings. After we finish with them, we would lock them inside the vehicle and leave the scene. When we see police approaching, we would escape with our motorcycle.
“My role is to collect money and handsets from our victims and keep. I also hold wood to deal with un-cooperating victims. It is only IK that holds the gun. We are a five-man gang. The names of others are Ifeanyi, IK, Ogor, and one Yoruba man whose name I don’t know. Ifeanyi holds cutlass and torch lights. I don’t rape our victims; it is only IK and Ogor that do such.
“I got N8,000 from our first operation; and N2,500 each for the second and third operation. Though I am the one that keeps money, I don’t have a say in how it is shared. It is whatever IK gives that we take.
“On my way back to Ibadan from the last operation, I saw many cars parked along Idi-Ayunre. I asked questions but no one responded. I moved on with my motorcycle and again saw another road block with many vehicles parked.
The people stopped me and said I must be one of the armed robbers. They said there was no way I could have passed through the road if I was not of those operating along the road. Police came, searched me and found four phones and camera that we collected at an operation at Ijebu-Ode.”
But Eze and his gang operates beyond Ibadan-Ijebu road, it was learnt, as one of their victims who was able to recognize the suspect, told Crime Reports that on April 15, at about 5.45a.m., he was stopped along Sagamu-Ijebu Ode expressway. The man who preferred anonymity said: “I was driving with my in-law when I was stopped.
“They collected two phones from me and N25,000. They also collected N4,000 from my in-law, after which they quickly dismissed us. By then, another vehicle had arrived behind. I saw the robbers hit the owner of the car with the butt of the gun, threatening to shoot. They even shot once to scare our people,
“We did our own operation on Monday and I was returning on Tuesday when I met the road block. My gang was not the one who operated at Ijebu Igbo.”
The second suspect, Ifeanyi (25) also revealed that: “I joined robbery two months ago. I was introduced to it by IK. I met him while selling my goods and as he patronized me, he said that a handsome man like would not need to stress himself as much as I am doing. He asked for my phone number and I gave him. From there, we started a relationship, exchanging calls. He would take me to beer parlour and buy drinks for me.
“One day, he called me on phone, asking me to accompany him to a party in Ijebu-Igbo. We went on two bikes. As we reached Ijebu-Igbo and it was getting late, I told him I wanted to go and he asked whether I had a child at home to breastfeed.
“He asked me to follow him on robbery operation. Since I did not have money to return to Ibadan, I followed him. When we got along the expressway, he gave me a stick and positioned me. He only gave me N500 that day.
“I didn’t mean to follow him again but I didn’t know made me do otherwise when he came to me the second time. We stopped a vehicle and robbed the passengers, after which IK locked them up in the car. We ran away when we heard police approaching and shooting. I nearly died of fear that day. Right in the forest, I started pleading that he should not bring me out again. He gave me N2000 that day.
“The next time he came to my house, I cursed him and told him I was not interested in the work. I told him I was making enough from my Otapiapia business. Those were the only times I followed him.”
Commending the efforts of members of the public towards enhancing policing, Mr Indabawa appealed for the continuous support so that the people would be served better.
He added that efforts were being intensified to arrest other members of the gang that are currently on the run while those arrested would be charged to court after the conclusion of investigation.
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