If there was one thing Frederick Banji, a resident of Shagamu, Ogun State, did not see coming during the Yuletide season, it was that he and his wife would find themselves at the mercy of robbers, who attacked them despite his wife’s critical condition.
While others were celebrating in the festive period, Banji, was running around to find a solution to his wife’s health challenge.
Few weeks before, Banji’s wife had suddenly taken ill and had stroke.
Running helter-skelter for intervention, Banji rushed his wife to Lagos for treatment.
But rather than find help, Banji and his ailing wife were attacked by a gang of robbers numbering about 10 at a hotel in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos.
Three of the gang members, Balogun Mutiu (32), Kuye Daniel (31) and Fashola Adewumi (32), are currently in custody of the Lagos State Police Command.
“We needed to get an apartment for the period the treatment of my wife would last. I had already contacted an estate agent who found an apartment for us.
“I had the N450,000 meant for the rent with me when they attacked us. They beat us and forcibly took the rent money and the wedding ring of my ailing wife. They collected our phones, clothes, laptops and many other things they could lay their hands on.”
Banji said when the robbers were leaving his hotel room, they took his Toyota Camry, in which the three suspects in custody were eventually nabbed.
The attack on the Banjis was just one in the Yuletide crime spree by the gang in which they dispossessed their hapless victims of belongings ranging from cars, phones, electronics, cash and jewellery.
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the men on Wednesday, said the suspects were tracked down by members of the command’s Rapid Respond Squad, after a resident placed a distress call about the activities of the gang.
The gang members were said to have been involved in a robbery spree spanning from Surulere to Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos.
Even though some of the victims of the suspects were present when they were being paraded before journalists, the suspects insisted that they knew nothing about what they were accused of.
Another victim of the robbers, who was robbed on Randle Street, Surulere, Lagos by the same gang, explained that the suspects raided their compound and beat up residents brutally before they took cash, jewellery and phones from them.
“They collected N10,000 from me that day. Some of my neighbours lost more than that. They were holding cutlasses and guns when they came that day. We were begging but they said they would cut us to pieces if we did not hand over any cash we had in the house,” the young woman, who declined being named, said.
It turned out that while the robbers were operating at Surulere, they had Banji’s vehicle with them at the time. Unfortunate for them, there was an RRS patrol team in the vicinity when they were operating.
The police commissioner said some of the gang members fled when the RRS team swooped on them on Tuesday, January 5.
When our correspondent asked Mutiu about his involvement in the robbery operations during the festive period, he instantly denied knowing the other suspects or having anything to do with the crime.
“I was simply going to my farm when I was accosted by the police. They told me that a gang had just robbed where I was arrested. I know nothing about any robbery. I am just a farmer. I rear goats and cows,” he said.
But Daniel’s explanation said otherwise. He said it was true he was arrested in Banji’s car but that Mutiu and Adewumi, were also in the same vehicle when they were arrested.
“I don’t know them well. They are friends to Balo, a friend of mine who picked me up in this vehicle at Oshodi yesterday. I did not know it was a stolen vehicle. I was only told to follow them to a carnival. They (Mutiu and Adewumi) were inside the vehicle with my friend when Balo picked me up.”
“I am just a cobbler from Ondo State. These people have now implicated me. I only came to Ibafo for Christmas. I live in Ondo State and I have never been a robber.”
Adewumi also said he knew nothing about the robberies, explaining that he was merely smoking his “cigarette and weed” when he was arrested.
The police are currently on the trail of other members of the gang.tweet Follow @@metrolens1