Through the efforts of the Rapid Response Squad, a member of a two-man armed robbery gang, Segun Taiwo, was apprehended shortly after it robbed an aged woman in her late 70s. Femi Ogbonnikan who interviewed the two suspects in the custody of the police, reveals the roles each individual played in the attack
Looking up and down confused and begging for God’s forgiveness each and every time for her participatory role in conniving with armed bandits to rob her mother, a 45-year-old woman who is currently singing like a canary in the detention of the operatives attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Alausa, Ikeja, a security outfit of the Lagos State Government, has attributed her current travail to greed. The female accomplice, Funmilayo Awoyale, while she was narrating how she came in contact with the two members of the gang, said she met the kingpin one Demola, about four months ago. Demola, who is at large, is said to be a herbalist. According to Funmilayo, a single parent of two children, said Demola, who had been treating her of a blister on her left leg nail, was introduced to her by a friend. “Demola is a trade – medical healer. He was introduced to me by a friend. And he has been helping me to treat a blister on my left leg nail.
But one day, he claimed he went into a trance and noticed that my aged mother was keeping a huge amount of money, especially foreign currencies at home. I asked him how he got to know of it, but he claimed he was blessed with the power of seeing things. “The next thing, he approached and told me, that we should arrange on how to rob my mother of these monies and her trinkets. Initially, declined vehemently, but after a while I didn’t know what came of me and I had to dance to his tune and I accepted to be part of it. He was disturbing me oftentimes when they should come, but when the pressure was too much on me, I had to bow to it,” said Mama Adeola. Funmilayo, who claimed, she sells sewing threads at Idumagbo Market, Lagos Island, said she and her husband whom she had two children for, had separated long time ago, prompting her to relocate to her mother, an Alhaja, who is in her late 70s and stays around Oduduwa Street, Kilo, Surulere.
“Alhaja gave birth to eight of us. I am number three among her children. Our father is still alive, but he has separated from our mother. He now stays in Badagry with another wife. But now Alhaja no longer works, but she often travels to United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA) to visit my younger siblings there. At times, she spends between three and four months there and my younger siblings use to send foreign currencies to her for her upkeep. Yesterday when Demola and his boy, Segun Taiwo, wanted to invade, he was calling and disturbing me, where I was and I told him, I was outside the gate of our house where Alhaja had sent me to go and check whether an hairdressing salon operator who is our tenant, had closed for the day or not. It was from there, they met me and I led them to our apartment at the ground floor of the two storey – building. I opened the door and they accosted Alhaja and asked to surrender her Quran, where she kept 500 dollars, a bag containing her trinkets and a sum of N100, 000. Demola and Segun Taiwo struck around 7:30pm yesterday, Wednesday, August 17, 2016.
It was late yesterday, I was picked up and whisked away to Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja, the headquarters of the RRS. It was Segun Taiwo, who mentioned my name, that I was an accomplice,” added Funmilayo, who is a native of Omupo, Kwara State. In his confession, Segun Taiwo, 30 years old, said, he and Demola were armed with a cutlass and an axe when they attacked the aged woman. According to the Ijebu – Igbo suspect, “it was the daughter of the Alhaja who called us to come and rob her mother. She had given us the time we could successfully invade. She asked us to strike before 8:00pm, because anytime after Alhaja had observed her 8:00pm prayer, she would lock the gate of her apartment. Her daughter quickly excused herself from home to buy a recharge card outside and called us. Her daughter used the key on her and opened the door for us to enter. Demola went straight to the old woman and asked her to surrender her Quran where her daughter had hinted us where Alhaja had kept foreign currencies and her handbag containing her trinkets. I was asked to position myself at the passage to monitor who might want to disturb us. Demola collected the 500 dollars, while he gave me N100, 000 and a gold ear ring to keep”.
On how he was arrested, “the operation was successful and we were about taking our leave when we suddenly bumped into one of their tenants who was driving in. He noticed our strange movement and accosted us. We didn’t answer him and took an available commercial motorcycle popularly called, “Okada”, and escaped through the second street. But the shout of “ole”, attracted the attention of an irate mob who gave us a hot chase. We were caught up with and took a refuge in a nearby house. Demola took cover inside the kitchen of one of the flat in that building, while I hid myself under the staircase. I was arrested, while Demola escaped, because he has a mystique power to disappear. I was arrested, with the aid of the RRS operatives, who were on a routine patrol within the neighbourhood. From there, I was taken to this office (RRS Headquarters, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja ). He is a herbalist. Even if he doesn’t use operational weapon and he has a power of command, just to say a word of command and that person will surrender whatever he or she has in him or her. I could remember sometime last year when we went to Okota, in Isolo to operate. We did not use any weapon.
When we got there, we sighted and accosted a woman and Demola asked her to surrender the amount on her. We collected N200, 000 from the woman. If a man or woman has money on him or her, Demola would know. I don’t know where he has got that power. And that was my first attempt and this very one, that I was caught, was my second time,” said the painter, who stays at No. 11, Ogunfehinti Street, Itire, Lagos. RRS Commander, ACP Tunji Disu, however, said investigation had intensified into the matter. Besides, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Dolapo Badmus, a Superintendent of Police (SP), confirmed the incident and said, that the two suspects would soon be transfered to the detectives attached to the Special Anti – Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, for further probe into the matter.