The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a 28-year-old woman, Anita Ekechukwu, her brother, Sunday Ekechukwu; and three others, Benedict Nwadike, Emmanuel Ochi, also known as General and George Emmanuel, aka Force Man, for armed robbery.
According to the police authorities, the suspects were arrested while robbing bureau de change operators of millions of naira at different times.
Narrating how the suspects operated, a source at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad said Anita would pose as a customer and convince the bureau de change operator to enter a vehicle with her only to rob him.
The source said, “Anita would go to a bank and say she wanted to buy foreign currency knowing well that banks do not sell foreign currency to just anyone.
“The bankers would introduce her to a bureau de change operator and they would establish contact. Later, she will call them for a huge transaction in a vehicle.
“When the victim enters the vehicle, her colleagues would come in another vehicle, abduct the victim, rob him of his money at gunpoint and then throw him out of the vehicle.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that the robbers were arrested while trying to rob one Sanusi of $80,000 (N12.8m).
The police source said the robbers operated around a bank in Lekki and had boarded their vehicle when policemen intercepted them.
He said, “They organised another operation. Already police were aware that the gang was about to operate around the area. The robbers had already abducted their victim, when the police swooped on them and arrested them. The robbers then revealed the location of the others. The police recovered the money collected from the victim.”
Anita said she took to robbery because of unemployment, adding that it was more honourable than prostitution.
She said it was her brother that introduced her to the illegitimate business but insisted they never used guns for their operations.
She said, “I am a member of the gang but we do not operate with gun. I am from Owerri, in Imo State. I am unemployed but I live at Lekki with my elder brother, Sunday, who is a building contractor.
“I joined the gang because I could not secure any reasonable employment.
“I joined the gang this year and I was given the telephone number of a bureau de change operator. I told him I wanted to buy $30,000. The next day, he sent his brothers who brought the dollars. I then told the man that we were going to a bank where I would pay him the naira equivalent. On the way to the bank, we collected the money from the man and pushed him out of the vehicle.”
Another suspect, Ochi, who claimed to be 24 years old, said he was a student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State.
He said his dream was to join the Nigeria Police but it was unclear if he would still be enlisted following his arrest.
He said, “My role in the gang is to push the victim out of our vehicle but I am always careful so that he will not fall and hit his head against a stone or hard object.
“I am a student of Olabisi Olabanjo University, Ogun State and I am in 300 level studying Crime Investigation. I intended to enlist in Nigeria Police Force when I graduate. I want to become a police detective.
On his hope of realising his life ambition to become police detective after graduation, now that he had been arrested he said, “It is God that will decide. If I regain my freedom, I will stand a chance. Even if I am jailed, I may get state pardon. Everything depends on God.”