"We usually smoke wraps of Indian hemp, otherwise called Igbo, before we go for robbery. We will then top it with shots of ogogoro (local gin). This is to make us hardened during operation and this is why a robber during operation can shoot his mother or wife.”
These were the words of 24-year-old Sheyi Ganiu, a suspected member of a six-man robbery gang that has been terrorizing Lagosians for a long time.
The gang met its Waterloo after two of its members were killed during a shoot-out with policemen in Ikeja area of Lagos recently.
Members of the gang, numbering six, reportedly stormed a popular eatery located on Allen avenue in Ikeja area of Lagos, where they dispossessed customers of cash and other valuables. But while at it, policemen from the Special Anti Robbery Squad, Ikeja, who were alerted, stormed the scene and engaged the robbers in a gun duel, killing two of them and recovering four cut-to-size double barrel guns and 20 live ammunition at the end.
In this interview Sheyi Ganiu, a cobbler at the densely populated Mushin area of Lagos, disclosed that members of the dreaded gang resided in the same area with him, adding that their hideout was located in Akala area of Mushin.
Hear him: "Akala is our base. That is where we plan and organise all our operations. That is also where we share our loots at the end of each successful operation. But before going on an operation, we must smoke until we get high. We will also top it with shepee (local gin), after which we would leave. At that point, we can shoot and kill anybody."
You must own a gun before joining the gang
Sheyi Ganiu revealed that the rule of the gang was to own a gun before anyone would be enlisted as a member.
"We are six in number and we had six guns, one belonging to each person. Members of my gang are Akeem, Wasiu, Ikeja, Femi and Ibrahim.
"Wasiu is a very close friend of mine and we reside in the same street in Mushin. He was the person that introduced me into the gang. But before I joined, they insisted I must buy a gun so as to arm myself and be able to defend myself during confrontation. Even when I begged them that I do not have money, they said I must get the sum of N25,000 to buy one before joining them because that was the criterium for being a member.
"I had to borrow money which I gave to Femi, leader of the gang , who bought me a gun from the Republic of Benin. Since I joined them, we have robbed in four places. One of the places was in Victoria Island, where I got N50,000; at Oshodi where I got N52,000 and Shogunle where I got N32,000.
"My fourth operation was at the eatery at Allen Junction. Femi, Ibranhim keja and myself were inside the eatery disposing customers of their valuables, while Wasiu and Akeem were outside watching. But when the police came, they all escaped, leaving me behind.”
Asked if he had any regrets, Sheyi Ganiu nodded his head. Asked if he had any advice for other criminals out there, he shook his head, saying, "I have no advice for any criminal out there or those having the intention to join. This is because nobody talked me out of this. So, let them face the music just as I am facing."
Meanwhile, Crime Alert gathered that operatives at SARS were on the trail of other fleeing member s of the gang, while Sheyi would soon be charged to court.