By Evelyn Usman
Policemen attached to Ilasamaja division have arrested two suspected members of a robbery syndicate that specialised in attacking customers who had gone to withdraw money from banks at Sadiku/ Ilasamaja, along the Oshodi-Apapa expressway, Lagos.
The syndicate which usually operated on motorcycle, positioned themselves along the service lane, awaiting their victims. Some unsuspecting customers have lost their lives, following gun shots wounds sustained during the attack while others managed to survive. One of the victims who narrowly escaped death , is a Vanguard staff who was shot in the hand and thigh, as he stepped out of the bank, sometime last year.
Following several complaints of attacks, the Lagos State Police Command boss, Mr Edgal Imohimi, directed a 24 hours surveillance around the banks and others along the expressway.
Vanguard gathered that immediately a male customer who had gone to withdraw N350,000 stepped out of one of the banks at about 2pm , Friday, the suspects: Boniface Ewerem(46) and Joseph,(42) ordered him to bring the withdrawn amount, pointing a gun at him.
One of them according to eye witnesses fired a shot into the air as he snatched the money from the customer and zoomed off in their operational motorbike.
Luck however, ran against them as policemen from Ilasamaja chased and caught up with them. Angry members of the community requested that the suspects be handed over to them with an apparent intent to carry out jungle justice on them.
Explaining how they were arrested, one of the residents, Ayiola Ganiu, said ” The attacked customer raised the alarm which alerted us. Everyone chased after them. They abandoned their motorbike and ran across the express, inward Soaps, unknown to them that there was a police station not that side. Policemen at Ilasamaja division, led by their DPO, joined in the chase until they were caught.
“If the Police had not intervened, the robbers would have been lynched because they have sent many lives to unprepared graves. We wanted to use them to serve as deterrent to their colleagues. Unfortunately for us, the Police were present.
The suspects during interrogation, revealed that they came from Iba area of the state to operate.
One of them, Joseph, said they intended to use their loot to celebrate Christmas with their families.
He said: ” This is my first time. I wanted to use the money I would have collected, to celebrate Christmas. We never had any intention to kill our victims”
The suspects as gathered, were immediately transferred to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, as crowd throng the station.
One brownie pistol and two life ammunition as gathered, we’re recovered from them, including the stolen money which has been returned to the owner.