James Sowole in Abeokuta
Operatives of Ogun State Police Command have disclosed the arrest of seven members of a syndicate specialised in hijacking trucks loaded with goods on the Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode expressway of the state.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed the arrest of the suspects in a statement yesterday.
Oyeyemi gave the names of the suspects as Onyegbuchi Nwafor, Idakole Benjamin, Ibrahim Musa, Abolade Shola, Ikem Ejimofor, Adebayo Jamiu, and Ayeye Edwin.
He said the suspects were arrested following a distress call received at Odogbolu divisional police headquarters on December 8, 2021, at about 3 a.m. that a gang of armed robbers had blocked the expressway and hijacked a truck loaded with blue band products of Unilever Nigeria Limited.
According to him, the robbers allegedly overpowered the driver and motor boy, took them to the bush and tied them down before driving away the
The PPRO said: “On the strength of the distress call, the DPO of Odogbolu Division, Awoniyi Adekunle, quickly led his patrol team to the scene, but the hoodlums had moved away from there before their arrival. They started tracing the criminals based on the description of the hijacked truck.
“Their efforts paid off when the truck was sighted at Nairaland area of the expressway moving towards Ijebu-Ode road.
“They were given a hot chase, and three among the hoodlums namely: Musa Ibrahim, Shola Abolade, and Edwin Ayeye were arrested, while others ran into a Honda space wagon car and escaped.
“In the morning of the same day, those who escaped, contacted a lawyer and informed him that police had unlawfully arrested some of their friends. They engaged the service of the lawyer to solicit for their release from the police custody. On getting to the office of the DPO, the lawyer was told to produce those that briefed him about the case before those in the police custody could be released.
“The lawyer, therefore, called them to come as the case was about to be settled. The duo of Nwafor Onyebuchi and Idakole Benjamin, who was later identified as dismissed police sergeant, came to the station and were subsequently arrested by the DPO and his men.
“On interrogation, the suspects confessed to being the one who blocked the expressway and hijacked the blue band loaded truck from the driver after tying him and his motor-boy down.”
The PPRO said the suspects were later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) for discreet investigation on the order of the state Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole.
“On getting to the SCIID, the suspects, after thorough investigation, confessed that they have so far hijacked four trucks loaded with different types of goods, such as pampers, Nutri C drinks, blue band and Honey Well flour. The value of the hijacked goods so far is estimated to be N25,688,000
“They confessed further that they have a readymade buyer, one Alhaji Jamiu, who lives in Kwara State. Jamiu was traced to Erin-Ile in Kwara State where he was promptly arrested. Their major receiver and financier, Ikem Ejimofor, was traced to Jakande Estate in Lagos where he was also arrested.
“While Jamiu confessed that it was his own truck the suspects used in blocking the road when the last truck was hijacked, Ejimofor on his part confessed being the receiver of all the robbed goods which he bought at a very ridiculous price.”
The Commissioner of Police, Bankole, has directed that the suspect must be arraigned in court without delay.