23rd January, 2014
A citizen of Repubic of Benin, who resides in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, Abbey Edward, has allegedly confessed that he supplied guns to armed robbers for their operations in the state.
The father of four children, who has been living in Agbara area of Lagos State for over 30 years, allegedly made the confession while denying the allegation that he was part of a robbery gang.
Edward was recently arrested and was Wednesday paraded with other suspects including, Adewale Osoja, 21, Bala Yahaya, 28, Hassan Ado, Almed Boladale, 20, Abiodun Olarewaju, 27, by the police at Ikeja, Lagos Command for armed robbery.
Edward, however, insisted that he has not participated in any robbery operation except selling arms to robbers.
He said people knew him as a driver, but his main source of income for many years came from buying guns for robbers in his hometown in Cotonoun, the economic capital of Benin.
Edward said that because he has been living in Agbara for many years, it was easy for him to cross the border and bring arms into Nigeria without being caught.
He said those that patronise him are mainly young men who cannot afford to buy high calibre guns and decided to start with cheaper locally made guns which he bought for them.
Edward said he does not ask his customers what they do with the guns, but knows that they are criminals.
“How can I ask them what they do with the guns? As an adult, I know they are criminals and they want to use them to rob people,” he said.
The suspect admitted that he sells a local made double barrelled pistol for N14,000 to robbers.
Also paraded with Edward was the leader of the suspected robbery gang, Adewale Osoja who narrated how they robbed members of Christ Authority and Power Evengelical Mimistry, CAPEM, at Vespa Ijaniki, Lagos-Badagary Expressway at gun point.
Osoja said on 31 December, 2013, one of their gang members called Sodiq, who is now at large, informed them during their meeting that many worshippers will be attending the church that day because it was the last service before the New Year.
He said his 12-man robbery gang went to the church when they were exchanging pleasantries for the New Year.
He said they dispossessed the worshippers of their valuables such as phones, jewellery and money.
He said they later ransacked the church for valuables and took all the money in the church’s offering box before they left.
However, nemesis caught up with the gang when they went for another operation on 1 January at Morontola Street, at Vespa, Ijanikin.
According to him, when they attempted to rob in the area, the residents fought back.
He said while they were fleeing from the area, one of their guns fell off but they abandoned it.
He said when their gang member, Hassan Ado, went back to the area to make inquiry on how to recover the gun from the street urchins, known as area boys, they immediately informed the community leaders and Ado was arrested and handed over to the police.
P.M.NEWS learnt that Ado led the police to arrest of other members of the gang.
Ado also admitted to have participated in several robbery operations.
He said Edward knew that they were armed robbers before selling guns to them and he had asked him not to deny it to the police.
The Public Relations Officer, of Lagos State Command, Ngozi Braide, confirmed that the suspects were arrested after the community leaders handed Ado over to the state Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
Braide said efforts are being made to arrest other suspects at large.