'One Chance' robbery suspects on parade

‘One Chance’ robbery suspects on parade

Kazeem Ugbodaga

One of the six suspects of three different ‘One-Chance’ gangs arrested by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command on Sunday confessed that the prevailing economic situation in the country has greatly affected robbers.

The suspect, Adeleke Rasaq, 24, was arrested along with his gang member, Lucky John, 22, at Abule Egba, Agbado Oke Local Council Development Area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

Adeleke, who resigned as a factory worker to join ‘one-chance’ robbery gang confessed: “We don’t make much money like before. The present economic condition in the country has greatly affected ‘one chance business’. We are not making much money again, everywhere is dry.”

The suspect added that: “Frankly, we have not made much money since Monday. We have been sharing N20,000; N30,000 and N40,000. Unlike before, when I operate alone, I can make close to N150,000 daily. Now, business is so difficult.

“I teamed up with Lucky because pick-pocketing is not easy in Lagos these days. When you toil alone, you might not make much. It has not been easy working independently lately. So, we have to team up to make more money to survive. Both of us live in Badagry. Every day, we come to Abule Egba, Agege, Fagba, Egbeda to operate. As soon as we have made enough money, we would retire for the day”.

Explaining how he joined the robbery gang, he revealed that he resigned from the company he worked for when he noticed that a lot of his friends in Ajegunle, who were doing ‘one chance business’ were living better than many chief executives.

“Every guy does this in Ajegunle. We don’t see it as a crime, it is called hustling. I started following them out. It was in the process that I mastered the act. It has been up to six years that I have been in this trade,” he said.

Members of the second gang, comprising Ubuke Michael, 26 and Obinna Okoro, 24, were arrested in Gbagada after their operational bus with the registration number, FST 890 XM, had picked two passengers going to Alaba International Market and Ladipo Spare Part Market to buy goods.

Ubuke, the leader of the gang, had invited a bus driver and a conductor to join his group in ‘one-chance operation’.

“I invited a friend of mine who has a commercial bus. He and his conductor are familiar with the operation. I have so many commercial buses that I can call for operation. I call them to join me at a particular location. The driver and conductor do their normal work while we collect belongings of the passengers, drop them off and pass them to the driver to hold. The two passengers in the bus were our victims.

“One of them came out of the bank before boarding our bus while another has bulky pockets. We were about to collect their belongings when we were arrested. We don’t normally carry more than two passengers during operations. Whatever we make, we share with the driver and the conductor but our share is normally more than theirs. It is so unfortunate the driver and conductor of our operational danfo bus escaped,” he said.

One of their victims, Boniface Anusionwu, whose phone was found with the gang stated. “I came out of a bank where I went to withdraw some money for trading and for my rent. I never knew they were robbers”.

Other gang members, Steven Raphael, 25 and Samali Onafuwa, 27 were arrested at Fagba and Station Bus Stop, Ishaga.

Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos, said that there would be no hiding place for criminals in Lagos State, adding that the suspects would be charged to court on completion of investigation.

The six suspects have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, for further investigation.