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Confession of robbery suspects: Introduction of cashless policy is affecting us

Two suspected members of a robbery gang which specialised in attacking customers while they are withdrawing money from banks in Lagos and Ogun states are currently cooling their heels at the Ogun State Criminal Investigation Departments , Elewee-Eran. The suspects, Lukmon Bello and Jide Abbass, met their waterloo, penultimate Monday, after a foiled attempt to snatch a bag containing an unspecified amount from a car parked in front of a business centre in Oke-Ilewo area of the state.

They reportedly trailed the owner of the car who had gone to withdraw some money from the Ibara branch of Sterling Bank, Abeokuta to the business centre. But unknown to them the customer is a Divisional Crime Officer, DCO, attached to one of the divisions in Abeokuta.

Vanguard Metro, VM, gathered that while the unsuspecting policeman was inside the business centre, the suspects who came in their operational Mercedes Benz 190 car, reportedly parked beside his car. Eye witnesses said they opened the car with a master key and collected an envelop where the withdrawn money was kept. But they got the shock of their lives when the policeman who was just coming out of the business centre sighted them and fired a shot at one of them.

Why I joined Robbery

•Ogun suspects (l-r: Lukmon Bello and Jide Abass)

Tracing the genesis of his misadventure, 46-year-old Lukmon, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State, informed that he was a commercial bus driver and shuttled between Mile 12, Ketu and Oshodi road, Lagos. He claimed he took to robbery due to his inability to fend for his two wives and six children.

In his words: “I was initially into international trade. I usually travelled to Dubai to buy men’s clothes to sell until the trade crumbled. I had also travelled to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, twice, to perform Holy Pilgrimage. While the going was good, I got married to two wives. But along the line, my business crumbled and I started driving commercial bus. At a point, I could barely feed my family. In the process, I met Jide Abass, who introduced me to robbery.
How I was arrested

“On that fateful day, we left Ikorodu where we live, to Abeouta to operate. It was Jide who suggested we went far to operate to avoid being recognised during operation. We trailed this particular man to Oke-Ilewo.

We saw him counting some money and kept some in the safe of his car. We did not know he would not stay long inside the office he entered. We were busy ransacking his vehicle for the money he left and never noticed him coming out until he was close. As we attempted to enter our car and flee he pulled out a pistol and shot me in the thigh.

“I managed to hop into my Mercedez benz car which was used for the operation and sped off towards Ibara Housing en-route Kuto (Abeokuta)/Isiun Expressway.

But I became unconscious as a result of loss of blood and in the process ran into an oncoming vehicle on reaching the Ogun State NUT Conference Hall junction, close to MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta.

“Some good Samaritans who did not know what actually happened came to our rescue and rushed us to the Federal Medical Centre,FMC, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, for treatment. But to our surprise, the man who shot me located us and arrested us. It was after we were arrested that we discovered that he was a policeman. My wives and children are not aware I have been arrested. Greed lured me into this”.
Introduction of cashless policy is affecting us- Abass

Valentine-Ntomchukwu, Ogun CP

Lukmon’s partner in crime, Jide Abass, 45, who hails from Ilesha, Osun State, stated that robbery was easier for them until the introduction of the cashless policy in the country.

“We usually laid ambush for bank customers, especially those who had gone to withdraw money. It is not difficult to notice them. For the men, it is either their pockets would be bulging or they would come out with the usual black nylon. For customers who came in their vehicles, we would either ambush them or trail them to safer places where we would collect the withdrawn amount. But since the introduction of cashless policy, people don’t usually got out with cash. Even when they go to eateries or super markets, they make use of POS and this has been affecting our operations.

“We started operating in Ikorodu, Lagos State but since the police seem to have braced up to the challenge, we decided to relocate to Ogun State. This is our fourth operation here. I am ashamed of myself because my two wives may likely divorce me if they find out their husband is a robber,” he said.

The suspects according to the command, would be charged to court soon.

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Posted By BOBRICKY On 08:34 Mon, 18 May 2015

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