Following the arrest of 4 suspected members of the 22-man robbery gang that invaded the Lekki branch of First City Monument Bank, FCMB, 2 months ago in Lagos, killing five persons, preliminary investigation revealed that some of the suspects were oil bunkerers recruited from Delta, Ondo states and Arepo in Ogun State. They were identified as Duke Odogbo, 38; Lawrence Kingsley, 31; Ebi Tosan, 20, and Ekelemo Kuete, 30. Recovered from the suspects were a 2008 model Honda Accord car purchased by one of the suspects from his share of the loot; a white Blackberry Z10 phone, one Apple i-Phone 5, one military face cap, used during the operation, and 120 expended ammunition.
Speaking on how the planned the robbery, Odogbo said it took the gang 24 hours to plan the operation at Tarkwa Bay. He further told a crowd at the Police Command headquarters, where they were paraded, that his share of the N15 million loot was N500,000. In his words, “I was invited by a friend from Warri, Delta State, to come for bunkering job. But on reaching Lagos, I was told it was a bank robbery.I told them I was into bunkering and not robbery. But because they told me we were going to make much money from it, I decided to join them.
“On the day of the operation, we left Tarkwa Bay at about 4.30 p.m., in two boats; with 11 persons on each. But one of the boats developed fault on the way. We all entered the good one. We got to the bank few minutes after 5p.m. Immediately we left the canal, some of us went to the road and started firing, thereby making way for those of us that would go inside. I led the team that went in.
“We were all putting on Army camouflage. I shattered the entrance glass with bullets and when we got inside, we demanded for the money realized for that day. The manager told us they did not make much. But we broke into one of their strong rooms where we got some money. We also broke into two ATM boxes, but there was no money in either of them. We told ourselves that the operation must not exceed 40 minutes.
“To my surprise, by the time we were leaving, I discovered that my colleagues were with seven extra rifles. When I asked, they said they saw some policemen in a van, concluded they were there for us and shot at them. I was not the one that shot the policemen. I did not kill anyone. It was when we got to the forest, located in an island in Ikorodu that we discovered that the amount stolen was N15 million and I got N500,000. I used my share to boost my bunkering business.”
On the speed boat used, Kuete confessed he drove one of them, adding that he was given N50,000 at the end of the operation. Kuete, who resides at Arepo area of Ogun State, said: “I must confess, I knew that we were going to rob a bank. I am a bunkerer at Arepo and I make at least N80,000 from each operation. I was hired to take them to the bank. I remained in the boat with four others, while the rest left for the bank. When they came back, we headed straight for our hideout, where our leaders shared the money according to individual’s involvement. I got N50,000.”