Plans to attack several commercial banks in Lagos have been foiled by the Inspector General of Police’ (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
This is just as four suspected members of the gang of notorious kidnapper, America, and a guard attached to one of the banks were arrested at Ajah and Ikorodu areas of the state.
The banks targeted, the police said, were Zenith and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in Lekki, as well as FCMB, Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) and Keystone Bank in Ajah.
It was gathered that the gang was behind Thursday last week’s abduction of six pupils of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla.
It was gathered that the suspects were picked up following credible intelligence and they confessed that plans had been perfected to attack five banks in the state.
The police said Tuwei confessed to have participated in the ambush that killed four policemen and an Army Captain.
Their arrest, the police said, followed days of unrelenting tracking by the IRT.
The five militants were said to have been sent by America, their leader, from the creek to survey the banks and hire two operational buses that would be used to convey them to and fro the river banks in the course of the attack.
It was gathered that the banks were marked because of their proximity to river banks.
“They also said America fixed Wednesday June 1, for the attack, but his boys were arrested before then. The suspects are cooperating with detectives in the Investigation. Serious efforts to arrest the gang leader, other members and rescue the school children, the police said, were in progress.
Tuwei, a suspected member of the deadly gang, however, said he was sleeping in another of the suspects’ house when he heard that the gang, led by America, had shot an Army captain and four policemen in Isawo area of Ikorodu, Lagos.
Forty-seven-year-old Segun Tuwei, however, said he did not know that the shot soldier and police officers died until he and other members of the gang heard about it from the news media after an exchange of gunfire the gang had with some securitymen.
A police source said that following the death of the Army captain and police officers, the Inspector General of Police, Idris Mohammed, immediately directed the officer in charge of his intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abba Kyari, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), to fish out the members of the gang responsible for the heinous crime.
They went into action immediately and their effort resulted in the killing of America’s second in command simply addressed as OC.
A member of the gang named Benjamin was said to have escaped when the IRT operatives arrived his house, but his wife was arrested.
From his hideout, Benjamin was said to have sent Segun Tuwei, a suspected member of the gang, to the police station to secure his wife’s bail.
The police was said to have honoured his request for bail, which later helped them to arrest Benjamin.
The suspects revealed that the gang used to set ablaze any car or bus it used for operation to avoid the vehicles being traced to them.
They also admitted being in possession of a Land Rover SUV belonging to a member of the gang named Saheed.
Confessing his role in the gang, Tuwei said: “There is no need to lie. It has happened and it has happened. We are members of the gang that is led by America. He is our gang leader. They killed the captain and the police officers in an exchange of gunfire, but I did not follow him to the operation in which an army captain and four police officers died. That happened at Isawo area of Ikorodu.
“It was America that always selected the members of the gang that would go for particular operations as they required high level intelligence, smartness, time consciousness and bravery.
“I was sleeping in Ben’s (Benjamin’s) house when it happened. They operated from Ikorodu to Maridon that night.
“In the morning, I ran to Ojota. That was where one of our members said they had gone to kill some military and police people at Isawo. They said an army captain was among the soldiers they shot dead. We heard that they killed a Police Inspector also.
Continuing, Segun said: “I am from Arogbo village, Ondo State. I am married with four children. I was doing Timber Work at Itoko village around Epe Road. The village is after Agbowa town. I live there with members of my family.
“I don’t follow them to kidnap people. My role is to do surveillance with Abbey and Ben. If we wanted to rob a bank, the three of us would first go and survey the bank. After we had done our surveillance work, America and others would go for the operation, robbing the bank of any money they found there. “Once we had followed the gang up to waterside, America and other members would climb to the bank. “I was arrested in my shop at Itokin where I sell local gin called ogogoro on May 13, 2017, being a Saturday.
They just called me on the phone. It was the only surveillance I had helped them to do since I joined the gang.” Benjamin on his part also confessed to being a member of America’s deadly robbery gang. He said: “We robbed banks and individuals, but I did not follow them to the operation on that fateful day they killed an army captain and four police officers. It was America and others who exchanged fire with the military and police. America used pump action riffle to kill them. “I am from Biagbini village in Eseodo Local Government Area, Ondo State. I used to do fishing and sand dredging. I am married with four children. “I wanted to marry the second wife but suspended it because I had no enough money, and that was what pushed me into looking for money that way.
“I met OC when we were doing oil bunkering at Maridu, Abule Oba. The Navy people came and took over Magidun and I moved inside the creek where we were fishing. “One day, Abbey came and told me that there was work. I told America and he said I should follow them to Isawo to kidnap a woman. “I was given N20,000 and Abbey was given N10,000. We kept the woman in Ajegunle creek until we released her. America used to stay at Ore. The woman’s husband paid N3,000 000 before she was released. There used to be six of us in the gang. Four of us used to carry pump action guns and AK 47 rifles. “From the second operation, I got N100,000. America is our leader and he carries pump action rifle.
It was Abbey who brought the job. He was given N80,000 to survey the place before she was kidnapped. We used to feed her with garri, noodles, bread and egusi soup. “America employed a cook. It is the victim that dictates what he or she wants to eat or drink. We treat victims like kings and queens. “The second operation, which was bank robbery, failed and it led to our arrest. They first arrested Abbey and he deceived me on the phone. I called America and he said he had sent Samuel to go and show us where the bank is.” In his own confession, Olaroye said he was a native of Okitipupa in Ondo State. He said: “I am single. I was in Apapa, Lagos selling tokunbo (fairly used) fridge before I joined the gang. I live in Abutoyo Ikorodu. I have been in this business since 2005.
“I was arrested on the May 13 while coming back from Ajah. We went to check the bank on May 12. My work is to carry out a surveillance on people to be kidnapped or banks to be robbed. We kidnapped the wife of a naval officer who seized our fuel. They paid N3.4 million ransom and I got N80, 000.” Another member, Chinedu, said: “I am from Apoma after Umunede, Delta State. I was doing poultry work in Ekpoma. “When I came to Lagos, I had nothing doing. I met one Phillip who asked me to follow him to Marobo to do fishing. But instead of teaching me how to fish, he taught me how to rob and kidnap people.
“There, he told me that America was their leader. America gave me N14,000 to go to Lagos to meet Ben. He said Ben would take me to a bank where he would deposit N5,000. That was how I followed them for bank robbery. I am married with two children.” Ikechukwu said: “I am from Ikumano Local Government Area, Abia State, and I am married with a child. “I do security work in Tana Security Company at Lake side, Ibeju Lekki. It was Abbey that lured me to join the gang. My role is to show them the bank to rob. I showed them First Bank and Zenith”