Rahman (surname withheld) and six other teenage robbers–Sadiq (15); Timilehin (14); Moyinoluwa (18); Toheeb (19) and Sodiq (17) (surnames withheld) were, at the weekend arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) during a raid on criminal hideouts in Oshodi, Lagos State.
The 18-year-old robber had blamed his involvement in crimes on the separation of his parents.
“I have been sleeping under Oshodi Bridge since 2013. I work as conductor and whenever I do not, I am with my peers to rob and snatch valuables in Oshodi.
“We were three when we stole a Microsoft phone from a lady’s bag. We pretended to be helping the lady to get a bus, meanwhile, our target was her phone.”
The teenage robber also said “I have been committed to 13-month rehabilitation by the Lagos State Task Force, but my home is at Oshodi Under Bridge .
“We are over 50 boys. We are always in Oshodi Oke from morning till late at night. Some of us genuinely help people to carry their loads, while a lot of us are there to snatch handbags, phones and other valuables from people.
“Most times, we work in groups. While the one of us is helping out, another person is stealing the victim’s valuables either from bag or pocket.
“There are some other guys who forcibly dispossess passersby of their belongings. These gangs operate early in the morning and late at night when their victims are helpless,” he pointed out.
A source at the RRS stated that the weekend raid was part of the efforts of the police to ensure a hitch-free Yuletide season.
He stated that the raid would also take place in other black spots across the state.
The suspects who were brought in batches to the RRS office in Alausa, Ikeja were all apprehended the same day in Oshodi, while brazenly dispossessing commuters of their belongings.
Another suspect, Sadiq, who was allegedly in company with two other boys while stealing an iPhone and a phantom Tecno phone from a car, said “Osas and Janbele stole the two phones in my presence.
“We have sold the two phones alongside seven other phones to Tuwo in Idi Oro, Mushin. They gave me N7,000 from the proceeds,” he added.
The image maker in charge of the state police command, Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the the arrest of the suspects to the Metro and added that they had been transferred to the Special Task Force on the Environment and Other Related Offences for prosecution.