Adedeji Ojo, who is in his early 30s, was a member of a four-man robbery gang that operated on the Ibadan/Akure Expressway and Osu/Ilesha Road in Osun State for months before their arrest recently.
Ojo lived in Lagos before joining the daredevil gang, which terrorised residents.
The bandits’ mode of operation involved littering the road with iron and nails. Any unsuspecting motorist that steps on them would have his tyres deflated. As the driver attempts to fix the tyres, the gang would emerge from their hideout usually in the bush and attack the victims. They often robbed and raped their victims.
The state’s Deputy Commissioner of Police, Baba Tijjani, said the command had received several complaints from vigilance groups in Osu, some kilometers to Ilesha that it was as a result of the gang’s seeming “invincibility” that the local security men sought for police reinforcement.
The suspect, who received 20 dane-gun bullets from the vigilance group, confessed that he belonged to the four-man gang. The combined team of policemen and the vigilance group laid an ambush for the robbers at a popular spot they attacked motorists.
Ojo said, “We are four members in our gang. We robbed and raped passengers along Ibadan/Akure Expressway. We came from Lagos State to rob passengers on the expressway.
“We robbed a 14-seater bus along Akure Expressway around 10.00pm. The victims were old women and ladies. We told them to lie down in the bush and robbed the old women and collected N43,000. My gang raped some ladies among them.
“After the operation, my own share was just N9,000. It was the gang leader, Uche, who promised me that after each robbery operation, I would be receiving N1million.
“That was why I followed them from Lagos State to Ibadan/Akure Expressway and robbed passengers.
“It was when we wanted to rob another bus that we used our car deliberately to hit a trailer lorry, which prompted some buses to stop. We started to rob passengers, we chased them into the bush. It was when we were coming out of the bush that we saw another 14-seater bus. We attempted to rob the passengers, but they opened fire on us. I received 20 bullets from dane guns and I called my other gang members on phone to rescue me.
“As they were coming, the local security men and the police again opened fire on them and one of them died, while two others escaped with bullet wounds.”
Asked whether his family knew he was a robber, he said: “I didn’t tell my wife that I am an armed robber. I lied to my wife that I wanted to go for night vigil. My wife always thought I was in the church at night.”
Investigation confirmed that during the exchange of fire between the gang and the combined team of vigilance group and police, one of the robbers was killed, two escaped with bullet wounds, while Ojo survived the gunshots.
The novelty in the operation of the gang was that the members also used their car to hit oncoming vehicles or trailers in the night and in the process they would rob the passengers. Usually, it was gathered that their targets were mainly women who usually go to sell their farm produce at the Owena Market, a boundary town between Osun and Ondo States, along the Ilesa/Akure Road.
The Osu community had complained several times over the activities of the gang as they usually robbed motorists between 9.00p.m and 10.00p.m daily. T
he police and vigilance group laid an ambush for the robbers at the usual operation time. A member of the vigilance group, Rasaki Lamidi, said the robbers had tormented the community for so long.
Lamidi said, “Our market women were robbed and raped whenever they ply Ibadan/Akure Road and we have lodged several complaints to the men of the Nigerian police in Osu.
“We received the message that they always come to the Akure Expressway. We reinforced and teamed up with the policemen from Osu Division. We used a public bus. When we got there, we pretended as if our bus had a fault and when they saw us, they wanted to rob us and we opened fire on them.
“What surprised us was that we shot one of the suspects with two rounds of dane gun bullets in his back but he didn’t die. We were able to kill one of the armed robbers and two escaped with bullet wounds.”
Lamidi said that they are currently enjoying peace in Osu community, noting that there are no hoodlums on the Akure/Ibadan Expressway again.
Daily Sun reporter visited Osu where the residents were all rejoicing, while some victims came out to identify the suspect.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Kalafiate Helen Adeyemi, confirmed the report.
Mrs. Adeyemi said she had received several complaints and petitions over the spate of robberies on the Ibadan/Akure and Osu/Ilesa roads. She ordered the policemen to join forces with the vigilance group on the expressway by patrolling the highway.
Adeyemi said that it was the combined effort of the group and the policemen from the Osu Police Division that led to the bursting of the gang.
Source: Sun Newspapers