Saturday, June 30, 2012
A suspected peddler of Indian hemp, Onyeka Iloulo, 32, has been arrested by law enforcement agents in Ogun State for his alleged role in a robbery incident in the Mowe area of the state.
CRIME DIGEST learnt that the suspect was apprehended by men of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Eleweeran, after he and four others, three of whom are still at large, attempted to dispossess one Ismaila of his Nissan Xterra Sports Utility Vehicle, valued at N1.8m, at gunpoint on June 13, 2012.
Investigations showed that while the robbers attempted to snatch the vehicle from Ismaila, and probably to scare him, one of the hoodlums fired a gun into the air two times. When he tried to shoot the third time, the gun jammed. Immediately Ismaila noticed this, he raised the alarm and attracted the attention of passers-by.
Recounting what happened, a source close to the police said, “On June 13, around 11.10 pm, Iloulo, Nwankwo, who is now deceased and three others, attempted to dispossess one Ismaila of his car, an Xterra SUV. While they were attempting to rob him, the man immediately raised the alarm and the people around came to his rescue.
“When the robbers saw the mob coming towards them, they abandoned their mission and escaped in a Toyota Carina E saloon car. In their bid to make a quick escape, they left Nwankwo, one of their members, behind.”
CRIME DIGEST gathered that Nwankwo collided with a speeding motorcycle and was seriously injured. Seeing that he was down, the mob pounced on him and dealt him several blows.
The suspected robber did not recover from the beating. But before his death, Nwankwo led the police to the gang’s hide-out where Iloulo was arrested. A member of the gang, Orji, escaped with bullet wounds. Two locally-made double barrelled pistols were recovered with 13 live cartridges.
Iloulo told CRIME DIGEST that this was the first time he was involved in armed robbery. He confessed to being a hemp peddler and that his business often took him to neighbouring West African countries.
He said that the reason he got involved in robbery was because he got into trouble with law enforcement agents in Guinea. He stated that he was almost caught with drugs and had to run away; he said the incident rendered him broke.
Iloulo said, “I travel a lot. I go to Benin Rep., Ghana, Guinea and Togo to sell Indian hemp. Nwankwo was my village boy; he was the one that introduced me to the group. I had a problem in Guinea so I could not travel. Nwankwo and Orji came to me with guns and told me that they use it to snatch cars.
“They said that when they snatch some cars, they would give me some money to get back on my feet. They also said that they would want me to show them how to go about the business of peddling hemp. I did not join them in the robbery. I only released my car for them to use.
“The plan was that I wasn’t going to join them, but when they get the money they would give me my share. I was sure that the money was going to be enough for me to continue my business. The day they went for the operation, they did not succeed as they encountered some problems.
“This is the first time that I am involved in armed robbery. They were the one that came to me. If you ask my landlord, he would testify that I am hardly at home. I can be home for a week, the next two or three weeks I would be out of the country that is how I travel. I was almost caught with drugs in Guinea so I had to escape.
“I have no money again. The person I gave my car to absconded with it when the robbery operation was not successful. I asked my family members for some money to travel, but they did not come up with it if not I would have travelled. On Saturday, they came to my house to raid; that is how I got here.”
The source stated that it was difficult to believe Iloulo’s claims because of the guns found in his house. He said that the house was situated deep in the bush and it had an escape route. CRIME DIGEST gathered that the day the house was raided, the hoodlums were in a festive mood. “There was a lot of alcoholic drink and meat in the house when we got there,” the source said.
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the incident. He said that the case was still being investigated. Adejobi said that once investigation was concluded, the suspect would be charged to court on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye.