Saturday, 6 August 2016

Ex, serving policemen tell their robbery story

Three dismissed police officers, who were members of a notorious robbery gang terrorizing Chinese nationals in Lagos State, have been arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT.

The dismissed officers who were identified as Sergeant Ochigbo Gabriel, Sergeant Onuh Francis and Corporal Emmanuel Audu, were arrested alongside three others, who were identified as Peter Owocho, James Momoh, Sunday Onuh.

They met their waterloo after they broke into the home of Chinese nationals in Gbagada area of Lagos State. Crime Guard gathered that the suspects had, between December 2015 and June 2016, robbed no fewer than 10 houses belonging to Chinese nationals in different parts of the state, adding that they normally gain access into the Chinese homes on the pretence of conducting routine checks.

Modus operandi Sources stated that the officers normally tell the expatriates that they had information that they were involved in drug dealings and currency counterfeiting. When allowed into their homes, they would then ransack the apartments and cart away all valuables including cash and electronic gadgets.

Confessions galore When Crime Guard interviewed the suspects who were all natives of Benue State, they confessed that lack of good job and bad influences led them into crime. Sunday Onuh, 33, a holder of National Diploma in Business Administration told his story: “After my school, I went to work in a hotel for two years.

I went to a security firm and I was posted to British Embassy in Oregun where I worked for three years, after which I lost my job. I bought a Toyota Sienna with the money I saved and I decided to get married. I live at Oworoshoki area of Lagos State.

It was Jack who led me into crime. I met him when I was preparing for my traditional marriage. He was into the game then, and I was aware. After my marriage, he said he would introduce me to a business.

He said we would go to the house of Chinese men and pretend to be engineers and if they allowed us in, we would then rob them. He also told me that if they were not at home, we would cut their doors open. Jack is our chairman and he has several groups that he works with. “He took me to just two operations; one was at Omole and the other at Gbagada.

We were three that went for the operation at Omole Estate and we opened the door with a cutter. There was no one at the house at the time we attacked; we stole phones, laptops and cash. I don’t know how much was robbed but I was giving N500,000 cash.

At the Gbagada robbery, we wore coveralls and told the expatriates we wanted to repair light and they opened their doors for us. We went in and robbed them of their phones, laptops and money. I got N45,000 as my share after the operation.” Arrest “The locally made revolver pistol using 9mm ammunition belongs to Jack, but he gave it to me for safe keeping.

When I was arrested after the policemen traced a phone we robbed from Gbagada, to me, I told them that my gang wasn’t the only gang doing that same job; that I know one other gang led by one Peter who also does that job. I bought a fairly used Camry, tiny light, and I wanted to use it for taxi before I was arrested.” Joining the gang The second suspect, Peter Owocho, 30, said; “I don’t have a paid job and I do domestic staff most times.

I have gone for robbery three times and it was one Nelly who is from my local government (Okpoku Local Government Area, Benue State) who introduced me to the gang. Nelly told me they had a gang that comprised of some policemen who normally go to the homes of Chinese demanding to search their apartment over allegations of drug trafficking. When they are allowed in, they would ransack the house and cart away valuables such as money, mobile phones, iPads and laptops. He refused to allow me join their group, saying he had given me the clue that I should go and form my own group. “I got to know Francis Onuh through Nelly and he brought one Gabril Ochigbo. Then I also contacted Emmanuel Audu, a dismissed police officer.

He came to me and I told him about our plans and he brought James Momoh. Our first operation was at Olusosu in Ojota area of Lagos State. It was Momoh that brought the information about the Chinese and we struck at the place. First, we knocked and when they saw policemen, they opened the gate and allowed us in. The police officers with us told them that they suspected that they were involved in drug dealings. After we got into their apartment, we started searching and found three laptops, four phones and the sum of N700,000.

After the operation, we took all of them into a room and locked them up before leaving. We shared it among ourselves equally. I got N110,000 and $100.” Second operation “The second operation was at Medina Estate, Gbagada. When we got there, we applied the same style, and got two laptops, one iPad and we shared N50,000 each. The third operation was at Lekki; we shared N25,000 each. On June 7, 2016, James Momoh and I were apprehended.

My brother called me and I was arrested.” ‘Bad friends led me into crime’ The third suspect, Francis Onuh, 35, a serving policeman attached to Mopol 23 stated: “I worked at British Embassy. I am a Sergeant and married with three children. It was bad friends that led me into crime.

I was staying with one of my late friends, late Corporal Justin Igba, who introduced me to some of his friends who normally go out to raid Chinese men, and Nelly happened to be one of them. After his death, I left his house and moved to British Embassy, where I was posted. “In December 2015, I received a phone call from one Peter Owochu and he told me that one Nelly gave him my number to see me.

I met him at Iyan-Oworo and he told me about the business. They also brought in one mobile policeman, Sgt. Gabriel from Benue State. When we went for the operation, I had no gun, but I was armed with a plastic pistol, a jack knife and tear gas. I stood outside, while the rest went inside and searched the apartment.

We normally share our loot at Peter Oche’s house. I went out with them on three occasions before I was arrested. Getting involved in crime was a disgrace to me and my family.” Another suspect, a constable, Emmanuel Audu, 33, said he joined the Nigeria Police Force in 2003 and in 2009, he was dismissed over illegal duty in Warri, Delta State.

“I came to Lagos State and I became a dispatch rider. I did the job until last year December. I was still looking for job when I met Peter and he got me involved in the gang. I live at Ikorodu with my family.

After I got my first share of the loot, I fed my family with it and I also paid my children’s school fees. I took part in all the operations, but I was arrested on June 7, 2015.”

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