The picture below does not show what these men really look like when they stand on the streets. This is because they have been in police custody and their guises have worn off. But on a good day, any man who doesn’t look closely can be easily fooled to believe they are women.
And clearly, many men must have fallen prey to their wiles. These are hardened criminals who have terrified the people of Ibadan. One of them, Lawal Kabir claims he is a devout Muslim who considers Fridays and the Ramadan period as sacred and therefore, he cannot engage in robbery at such times.
He continues by saying that on Fridays he goes to the mosque to pray so that God would forgive all his criminal tendencies Ironically, he was arrested on Friday after observing the Jumat prayers.
According to him and the other suspects, they had unleashed terror in places like Osun, Sawmill and Iyana-Agbala. The eight-man gang confessed this and other crimes they had committed to Crime Alert.
One of them, Ayodele Olaitan, shook his head in regret and said: “It was my friends that pushed me into this. I joined the gang sometime ago and I have participated in at least three robbery operations.
I am not the owner of the mask you see on me. It belongs to one of us called pastor. He is dead now. I regret all my actions. I didn’t realize we could be caught. But, now the game is up, “ he said this in tears.
Lawal Kabir stated that he was driven into the criminal world out of business failure. “I took to robbery when my plumbing work was not booming. Three years after my freedom as an apprentice, I tried all I could to make both ends meet, but things did not work for me. I first stayed in Lagos before I later came to Ibadan where I was introduced to a gang of armed robbers. I have participated in four armed robbery attacks.
I went with them to Osun State, Ibadan, Sawmill and Iyana -Agbala. I was arrested on Friday after I finished praying in the mosque. Somebody we call a pastor, also a member of the gang called me without knowing the police had already arrested him.
I don’t rob on Fridays and during Ramadan. I used those periods to pray to God to forgive me my sins. I know what I was doing was wrong but it was difficult for me to break away from it.”
Biola Alaba, the one with the weave-on, noted that they were eight in number. They were arrested at a drinking joint during a robbery operation at Bodija. He states he never killed any of their victims.
“How can I commit two sins at the same time. I cannot rob and kill at the same time. It is unfair to rob someone of his belongings and kill him. We don’t even rape our victims, “ he said.
Sunday Omooba from Ogbomoso, a member of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, narrated that he took charge of the armoury for the gang. “I helped them get bullets through one man. I just call the man any time I need bullets for the gang.
I don’t rob with them. In fact, I did not know that they were using the bullets to rob. I also supplied that pump action gun to them. I bought the gun for N70,000 from a friend. If I knew that they would use the weapons for robbery, I would not give them.”
Mr. Mohammed Indabawa, the State Commissioner of Police related that, “sequel to tip-offs about a criminal hideout at a mechanic village, Iyana Church, Ibadan, a raid was organized and SARS operatives arrested the following suspected armed robbers: Olaitan Ayodele, Abiola Alaba, Oyewole Ogunwole, Adedeji Mustapha, Omooba Oyewole and Adedeji Mustapha. On interrogation, they all confessed to their past and present crimes within and outside Oyo State. They also confessed to have attacked and robbed two police officers.”
All their victims were contacted and they corroborated their confessions.