We only pick pockets, snatch bags, not motorcycles —Suspects

TWO suspected robbers, Afeez Lamidi and Monday Nwafor, whom the police said were snatching motorcycles, bags and purses from owners at gunpoint in broad daylight, have been arrested by policemen from Ashi Division in Oyo State Police Command.

The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Leye Oyebade, who spoke with Crime Reports on the suspects’ arrest, said that they were pursued and arrested on June 27 at 12noon, after they had snatched the purse of a lady who was walking by at General Gas area of Ibadan.

A locally-made pistol and a cutlass that the suspects were using to terrorise their victims were also recovered from them, Oyebade said. Before the latest arrest, Crime Reports learnt that the suspects had dispossessed an okada rider of his motorcycle at gun point at Ashi area.

According to the victim, an okada rider who craved anonymity, “on Sunday, June 19, I picked a passenger at Basorun motorcycle park to Ashi area at about 3p.m. As she was disembarking, three men on a motorcycle just emerged from nowhere and blocked me.

“Two of them disembarked and started raining slaps on me. One of them pushed me off the bike and the second one drew a gun. A security guard manning a neighbourhood gate, on sighting the gun, ran away. I started pleading not to be killed. Before I could get up, one of them picked my bike and as I struggled with them, he went to join others and they sped off.

“As I ran after them, I didn’t know that their gun fell down. When I could not catch up with them, I stopped an okada rider but they had gone far. I reported at Ashi police station and it was when the police came to the scene that they discovered the gun that fell.

“A week after the incident, the armed robbers came to the same neighbourhood to rob and they were caught. I went to the police station when I heard the news and to my surprise, I discovered that they were the same people who attacked me and went away with my bike.”

The suspects, who admitted snatching a purse while speaking with Crime Reports, however, denied snatching a bike from their accuser. One of the suspects, Lamidi (22), who said he was a bus conductor in Lagos State, confessed that it was the gang he was following in Ibadan that put him in trouble.

According to Lamidi, “I came in contact with the gang at Oke Dada hemp joint at Beere, Ibadan. They are Tunde, Rilwan and Monday, but the first two have gone back to Lagos. It was Monday and I that went to Ashi to snatch a purse from a passerby. We were pursued with motorcycles and cars until the riders caught up with us at Testing Ground area.

“Before that time, we used to pick pockets, but that day, he told me that he had instalment payment to make on a bike he bought and was not having money. He suggested that we go to Ashi area to snatch bags and that was what we did before we were caught. We found N3,100 in it but the money and the purse had been returned to the owner when we were caught.

“We were not the ones who snatched our accuser’s okada, but we have accepted the accusation since he is insisting. I admit that I have made a mistake and I promise that it will not repeat itself if I get out of my present predicament.”

Also, Nwafor from Oneke, Ebonyi State (27), said: “I am an okada rider. It is true we snatched purse from its owner at General Gas axis of Ashi area. Before then, we usually attended parties with the sole aim of picking pockets. We never used a gun to operate and we were not the ones who snatched our accuser’s motorcycle. I believe God wants to teach me a lesson with my arrest. I promise I will not commit crime again.”