The men, Sikiru Adeyemi, Saheed Hakeem, Dosun Patrick, Razaq Olarenwaju, Jamiu Adeyemi, were arrested after a close monitoring by the police after they left prison.
The ring leader of gang, Sikiru Adeyemi,who claims to be a graduate of mass communication from the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro in Ogun state, had earlier been remanded at the Ikoyi prison for armed robbery but was later released on bail and placed on close watch on the instruction of the state police commissioner, Umaru Tanko. His arrest led to the arrest of the other members of the gang. Continue
Narrating his journey into armed robbery, Sikiru said it was when he had the opportunity to work in the military that he got intoxicated by power, believing that whatever he did, he could go unpunished
"I am a graduate of Mass Communication from Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State. After graduation, I was given the opportunity to work in signal office of the military at Mile 2 area of Lagos. It was then that I realised that no matter the offence I commit, if the law enforcer realised that I have a link with the military, they will immediately release me. After spending a year there, I was admitted at the Vogue Interior designer vocational studies centre from 1988 to 1992. Upon my graduation, I practised interior decoration for years till I got a contract from one drug baron. Pleased with my work, we became friends and he introduced me to the business. This illegal business came to an end when NDLEA arrested him in 2000. I was very lucky to have escaped.”
"It was then I remembered how I was above the law when I was working in the military barracks. With the help of my friend, James Imada who was at Maryland barracks, Lagos, I got a fake identity card and uniform. I don’t know how he did it. I used it to escort trucks around Lagos and outside the state. I also used the identity card to stop and search trucks with James till he was transferred to the North to go and fight Boko Haram. All went well till in 2011, when I was arrested at Mile 2, when I stopped a truck as usual. A mobile policeman, who noticed the argument, intervened and I was arrested and remanded at Ikoyi prisons when I could not contact my superiors. While in prison, I met a lot of friends who were jailed over similar offences, I assisted some of them to raise money for lawyers while they gave me their contacts in exchange. We had a comprehensive list of possible places to invade and with the various experiences, how best to go about it undetected. I was released on bail months later when the complainant refused to come to court again.”Back home, Sikiru went back to what he knows best, impersonating and snatching of cars.
“I needed to survive and the only way was to go back to the same business. Nobody will like to do business with me since I had been to prison before. Business started booming and it got better when I met one Tunde, a dismissed police officer. We exchanged notes and formed a joint task force. All we normally do is to stop a big car and tell the owner that it is a stolen car and that he should come to the barracks for explanation. It was also easier to extort money because anyone that we stop and they discover that I am a soldier while Tunde is mobile police officer, they will panic. He was the one who produced the guns that we used for each operation.”Speaking about the crime that got him re-arrested, Sikiru said
"I never knew that my name was on the police wanted list. Normally when we want to do bigger jobs, I will always make use of the friends that I made while in the prison. They are the only ones that can keep a secret because of their experience. It was Saheed that contacted me that there was a job. He told me about a man that just returned to Lagos from Abuja with N18million. What we wanted to do was to storm his house and tell him that he is wanted by EFCC, seize everything he has in his house as exhibit and arrest him. On the way, we will drop him off and disappear. I quickly contacted my boys who will play different roles. It was when I went to finalize the sharing formula with the main source of the deal that I was arrested. I knew my game was up when I stepped down from the police van and realised I was at SARS office. This is why I am telling the truth and ready to cooperate with the police in arresting the others and exposing some of the contracts we got from the prison. Am still in shock that I am heading back to jail again. I even pray that I will be arraigned in court, so that my chances of coming out will be high.” he saidAs for the other gang members, their stories are similar to Sikiru's.
Saheed, a fashion designer, got jailed because he arranged with robbers to attack one of his richest customers.
“While in Prison, Sikiru was very popular because he had money and everyone wanted to identify with him. He gave us his numbers to contact him when we leave the prison. Weeks after I was released, one of my friends who was still in prison but had contact with the outside, told me that there was a deal. I contacted Sikiru who made the arrangements before we were arrested,” Saheed said.Razaq, a mechanic, who spent eight years in Ikoyi prison for conspiring with a gang of robbers to snatch the car of his customer said he was released on compassionate ground by a human rights organization that intervened in 2013 but says the human rights group only made a way for him to be released but was not financially empowered when left prison.
“After 7 years, I returned home to my sick mother who was driven away by her husband because of my attitude. Almighty God in heaven knows that I really wanted to repent but when I realised that life was better in prison than outside, I decided to help myself. All I wanted was to raise money to take my mother to the hospital and start up a business. The human right organisation only helped us to regain our freedom but did not help us to settle down. I called Sikiru who gave me one or two jobs (car snatching). I was satisfied with the proceed and had started a small business when the police came to my house to arrest me again. I am begging for a second chance, at least for the sake of my mother who is bedridden. I lost my wife while in prison, my father disowned me and my mother will die if I remain locked up. I am sorry.”.Jamiu spent eight months in Ikoyi prison for robbery and was called upon by Sikiru as soon as he regained his freedom.
“It was my elder brother that processed my bail and till date I have not visited the court. While I was in prison, Sikiru, because he looked like an old man, was very popular. He had money and was not selfish about it. Most of us served him while in prison, so when he called that there was a small business, I had to honour him. He assured me that it was car snatching and that we will not use guns. It was when we got there that I realised that it was full-time armed robbery. After that time, I stopped completely till the police arrested us. I am in trouble because my brother warned me that if I get arrested again, he will leave me to rot in jail, ” Jamiu pleaded.All five men are now in police custody.