Mr Emmanuel America (44), a herbalist who specializes in providing charms to armed robbers has been arrested by the police.
Mr America lives in Owhawha village in Delta State, where he practised as a native doctor, fortifying people with magic capable of repelling venomous pellets, dagger’s wound and lots more.
But his medicine failed him recently when three of his customers but armed robbery suspects were nabbed by a crack team of detectives from the Area Commander’s office of Delta State Police Command.
The confessions of the trio, Mr Johnson Samuel Rarire (32), Mr Ovinne Ikwweki (37) and Mr Garba Mohammed (23), after they were caught with a Honda CRV with registration number BZ 115 RSH belonging to one Mrs Ekpesu Celestina, led to the discovery and eventual arrest of the self-confessed herbalist.
Mr Johnson was the driver of the snatched jeep while Mr Ikpeki was a welder. Both are from Delta State while Mr Mohammed hails from Zamfara State.
The jeep was reportedly snatched from Mrs Ekpesu at gun point along Chevron Clinic Road, opposite DBS, Warri at about 6 p.m on March 1.
According to the police, during the parade of the suspects last Monday, Mrs Ekpesu’s 18-year-old son struggled with one of the robbers, but was lucky not to have been shot by the gun-carrying bandits. The boy received much beatings for daring the robbers than Mrs Ekepsu, who was also manhandled.
Mr America, while speaking with journalists, claimed he was not part of the gang, but head of his village’s vigilance group. “It was a surprise o. It was somebody that involved me in this nonsense o,” he said.
The suspect, who was all tears, claimed that a boy that he knew about two weeks came to inform him that he was eased of his job and that he should help him restore it through his magical powers.
“I just did some herbs that I mixed together, the one used to protect oneself from gunshots and dagger wounds. When I did the medicine, I warned them that if they use it to do any bad thing, they are on their own,” the herbalist narrated.
When asked what the charm could do, Mr America, said “it’s just that when somebody shoots you with gun, the bullet will not enter your body. That was the medicine I did for them.”
He denied that he was aware of what they wanted to use the charm for, warning his fellow herbalists to be wary of concocting charms for unknown customers.
Mohammed said he only joined the gang on January 23 and did so to eke some living, given the economic hardship in the country. “I know what they were doing but they said I should join them and get some money, so that I can get a house to stay because where I lived was not good enough,” Mohammed, who had been in Warri for 10 years, lamented.
The driver of the stolen jeep, Mr Johnson, who confessed he was used to helping criminals to “cross” stolen cars to other states, said he had lived in Lagos before relocating to Delta State 10 years ago. “They asked me to help them cross the vehicle to Benin and as we were crossing, they stopped us. I knew the car was stolen. I have never been caught since I have been doing this business,” the 32-year-old driver said.
Mr Ikpeki said he was not a member of the gang but only accompanied the other two to carry out the operation.
Items revovered from the suspects included a double barrel gun with batch number FSA 13276, a dagger, three single-barrel locally-made guns, pellets soaked in roots’ concoction, dead snakes soaked in a bottle, a ritual bunch of broom, and various charms recovered from the shrine of America.
Meanwhile, Delta PPRO, DSP Kalu and the Area Commander, ACP Hussein Rabiu, while speaking with journalists, enjoined the public to cooperate with the police by providing useful information that could lead to arrest of criminals in their domains.