Robbery suspect says gang runs ‘morning, evening shifts’

A suspected robber who specialises in using commercial buses (popularly known as Danfo) to rob people has told the police that they operate in groups in the mornings and evenings.

Henry Ate,‎ 48, said they retire to their hotels in the afternoon after morning operations and re-group later in the evening.

“As at the time we were arrested, more than half of us had gone out for morning shift operations,” said Mr. Ate, according to a statement issued by the police on Wednesday.

“Seven of us were picked up at various bus stops in Oshodi – Mile 2 route while in operations. We know ourselves. We have no other jobs than this. It’s what we live on.”

The police said they recovered two danfo buses used by the gang for their robbery operations – known as ‘One Chance’ in Lagos parlance‎ – along Oshodi-Mile 2 expressway.

The 14 – seater buses with Lagos registration numbers KTU 716 XS and GGE 532 XL are currently at the Rapid Response Squad Headquarters in Alausa, Lagos, according to the police.

Mr. Ate said members of his gang occasionally switch groups, adding that every “One chance” team would include the bus driver, conductor, and “a picker, who seats mostly in the last seat of the bus”.

“During operations, we pick only few passengers, maybe two to four,” he said.

“We dispossess them of their belongings, drop them and go our way. But we don’t push them down while on motion.”

Mr. Ate said when he was not operating with his gang, he works alone as a pick-pocket at Shoprite, Ikeja, and the areas around the Governor’s Office.

Other members of the syndicate include Akeem Fatai, 42; Jerry Nwokoro, 24; Olayinka Tadius, 29; Lucky Thompson, 36; Stanley Augustine, 31; and Ubah Kenneth, 25.

“The suspects were picked up majorly in Ajegunle and other spots in the metropolis,” the police said in a statement.

“Six of the suspects were picked up at hotels in Ajegunle, where they confirmed they normally lodge while others were picked up on operations at different bus stops along Mile 2 – Oshodi and Oshodi – Iyana Ipaja route.”

The police said they also arrested a pick-pocket syndicate that operates around Lagos.

The suspects are‎ Habib Nurudeen,17; Oyemi Ilesanmi, 23; Kenneth Okojie, 30; Chinedu Uzubi, 24; Ajakaiye Christopher, 26; Samson Uwaneze, 23; and Wasiu Kazeem, 24.

One of their victims, Emeka Ndukwe, a pastor whose Opsson mobile phone was recovered from Mr. Ajakaiye said it was removed from his pocket inside a bus heading to Iyana-Ipaja.

Mr. Ndukwe said he realized his phone was missing when he wanted to pay for an item he purchased.

The police said the arrests were made possible following a tip-off from members of the public.

Confirming the incident, the Police PPRO, SP Dolapo Badmos, said that there would be no hiding place for criminals in Lagos State, adding the suspects have been charged to court.

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