The operatives of the Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested a self-acclaimed ‘Chairman’ of pickpockets in Oshodi, the police said in a statement Sunday.
Ibrahim Kasali and 20 others alleged to be involved in robbing members of the public in the area were nabbed during a routine police raid in the early hours of Friday.
The police said the suspects, who were arrested between 4.30 a.m. and 6.35 a.m. around the Mosafejo, Bolade, Oshodi Oke, and Oshodi Under Bridge areas, were waiting for the morning rush hour to pick the pockets of passers-by and passengers.
“The suspect who is popularly known as Ibrahim Babangida of Oshodi was nabbed during the operation while being chased by passengers of a bus which he boarded to pickpocket,” the police said.
The police said Mr. Kasali is feared by his colleagues due to his ruthlessness and popularity.
“Some of his colleagues earlier arrested gave him out as their leader, and that he is the one that goes around to collect items stolen or snatched from passers-by to sell and share the proceeds to all of them,” the police quoted a source as saying.
Mr. Kasali, the police noted, had been to prison four times while one of his accomplices, Ibrahim Yusuph, 18, who also arrested, was just out of prison for the eighth time.
“Upon completion of preliminary screening, four out of 21 arrested suspects, who could provide satisfactory information about their identity, were released,” the statement added.
Among the suspects arrested include Bello Fatai, Oladimeji Ajisafe, Hassan Adeyemi, Jubril Olamilekan and Babalola Ahmed.
Others are Junior Vincent, Rilwan Oyinsola, Sadiq Taofeek, Kazeem Taiwo, Mutiu Rasheed, Ayodele Adeeko and Sola Omonije.
While confirming the arrest, the Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmus, re-assured Lagosians of the maximum security in place in the state, adding that the suspects would face the law soon.
The police said the suspects had been transferred to the Lagos State Taskforce on Environment for prosecution.