5th April, 2012
A security guard employed by a new generation bank in Apapa area of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, Francis Ojie, has confessed to the police how he invited robbers to raid the bank.
A source at the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, Adeniji-Adele Road, Lagos Island, informed P.M.NEWS that the 13-man robbery gang was dislodged by the police while trying to open the bank vault with welding instruments.
The robbery was allegedly masterminded by a chieftain of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, at Boundary area of Ajegunle, Lagos, who had been on the run since the foiled robbery attack.
It was learnt that as the 13 robbers swooped on the bank, they overpowered the other guards on duty and went straight into the bank vault and attempted to open it with their welding instruments. But the bank officials made a distress call to FSARS operatives who responded immediately and foiled the robbery.
While the robbers fled on sighting men of the FSARS, the operatives succeeded in arresting one of the bank’s security guards, Julius Osai, who reportedly hid himself inside the ceiling. His arrest later led to the arrest of another guard, Francis Ojie, said to be the mastermind of the robbery.
In his confessional statement to the police, Ojie allegedly admitted recruiting the fleeing suspects to rob his bank.
He said: “I have worked with the bank for six years. Everyday, I see millions of naira coming in and out of the bank without getting anything, except my monthly salary.
“I told myself, ‘if I retire today as a security man, what will be my gain?’
“Later, I discussed my feelings with my friend, Elias, who linked me with the leader of the gang who invited me to Ajegunle where I discussed my intention to rob my bank. I told him that the management usually leaves at least N35 million in the bank’s vault at weekends.
“He agreed to rob the bank with his boys and promised to give me money to start my personal business.
“On the day of the operation, we all met at Sunrise Bus Stop, Trinity, before we moved inside the bank and I joined them some minutes later to direct them to the vault.
“While they were using the welding instruments to open the vault, Elias suddenly shouted, ‘Police’ and we all jumped over the fence and escaped.
“I don’t know how the police got wind of the operation. I was arrested when I resumed for work thinking that the bank management did not know about my participation in the attempted robbery,” he allegedly stated.
The second suspect, Julius Osai, in his statement to the police disclosed that he and others were recruited by Ojie and the gang leader to rob the bank.
Meanwhile, the two suspects have been arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court in Lagos. They were charged with armed robbery.
The offence, according to the prosecutor, DSP Suban Ezema, who stood in for DSP Odion Akhaine, contravene Section 66, 1 (2) (b) of the Robbery and Fire Arms (Special Provision) Act, Cap E11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The charge reads: “That you Julius Osai and Francis Ojie and others still at large sometime in the month of October 2011 in the Lagos Magisterial District while armed with offensive weapons did break into the vault of a bank at Apapa.”
The plea of the accused persons was not taken.
Barrister Ezema presented an application under Section 264(11) of the Administration of Criminal Justice of Lagos State, 2011 for the remand of the defendants in prison custody because the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter.
She informed the presiding Magistrate Mrs. A. A. Famobiwo that her office has duplicated the case file and sent it to the office of the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution, SDPP, to give legal advice for the prosecution of the matter at the High Court. Mrs. Famobiwo subsequently ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody pending the legal advice from the SDPP. She adjourned the matter till 29 April, 2012 for mention.