Two fake military officials a soldier and a naval rating ─ are among five suspected truck robbers who were arrested by the Lagos State Police Command.
While the fake soldier identified himself as Patrick Okoh from Isele Ukwu, Delta State, his fake navy counterpart gave his name as Aniekan Emmanuel from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The other members of the robbery gang are Alex Ugbuagu, Evans Boniface, and Izuchukwu Udeagwu.
The gang was arrested on Monday, July 21, 2014 near Sango Ota, Ogun State.
They were said to be heading for a buyer’s place in the town when they were arrested by the police.
According to the police, the syndicate, which specialised in robbing trucks, had participated in five operations in different parts of the state.
While the first involved the robbing of a truck carrying 33,000 litres of petrol along Anthony Village at gunpoint, the second was a truck along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
It was gathered that the petrol truck that the robbers seized at Anthony Village was sold for N1.5m to a filling station in Ikorodu, Lagos.
After their arrest, the operational vehicle of the robbers, and the uniforms used by the fake military officials were recovered from the gang.
The fake soldier, 48-year-old Okoh, said he had taken out the gang on two robbery occasions.
He said, “I was working as a clearing agent in Apapa, Lagos. Around March this year, I met one Alex who was a driver with a logistics company and who had a Hilux van. Then, we planned on how we could use his van, and a military uniform to rob. I learnt he had gone on three occasions previously, but I didn’t participate in those ones.
“When I met Alex, I also invited Emmanuel, who I knew had a navy uniform. During operation, we would stand on the expressway in the night and flagged down any truck we intended to rob. The truck drivers submitted to us, thinking we were security operatives. That was how we diverted their trucks.”
The fake navy rating, 32-year-old Aniekan from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, said he used the navy uniform for robbery as a result of poverty.
He said, “I finished from the Navy Merchant School. I also attended the School of Oceanography, Victoria Island, but I did not get a job with the Federal Government. When there was no job, I started private security jobs.
“It was Okoh who invited me. I knew him as a resident in my area in Meiran, Lagos. He simply told me there was a business I could make money from. That was how we started. Whenever any truck came, my own work was to flag them down. I would harass the drivers with questions like, ‘Why are you driving like that? Is that how to move?’ Then from there, we diverted their trucks and robbed them.”
Our correspondent learnt that the gang was arrested after a tip-off.
It was gathered that the former commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, directed the Commander, Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SP Abba Kyari, to go after the suspected robbers.