The alleged gang leader, identified as Chioma Ezekwesiri, said she arranged for the guns with Raymond Chukwuka, a.k.a. Stubborn, they were to use for the operation, which she claimed was a land matter.
However, the police said that the group was preparing to rob a vivid businessman, who sells fertilizer, of about N8 million during his stay at the hotel.
The police also revealed the names of other suspects. They are: Amadi Igwe, 41, Raymond Chukwuka, 24, Ignatius Okeredi, 27, Michael Madu, 52, and Okechukwu Jerome, 28, and a yet-to-be identified member who is at large.
The alleged armed robbery was thwarted by some staff of the hotel, who quickly contacted SARS operatives when noticed suspicious men gathering near the hotel.
The law enforcement agents were said to have surrounded the hotel, and later searched all its occupants. It was in the process that two locally made guns and 12 live ammunition were recovered from the robbery suspects.
35-year-old mastermind of the robbery, Chioma claimed that she graduated from UNILAG in 1999, was called to the bar in 2000, and owns a Non-Governmental Organisation, Youth of All Nations Empowerment Association. But authorities of the University of Lagos said she did not graduate from that institution. Chioma’s claim of being called to the Bar was also debunked by Barrister Tunji Busari of Cognate Solicitors. Mr. J.E. Joshua, the chairman of Youth of All Nations Empowerment Association, he denied that Chioma is the founder of the association.
The gang remanded in court, where they are facing a three count charge of robbery, conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms.