A 32-year-old nursing mother, who was caught for alleged armed robbery in Lagos, has blamed her plight on the huge financial burden on her.
According to the Lebanese woman, who identified herself as Amira Abudallahi, “my financial responsibility and the economic situation of the country led me into armed robbery”. “I have five kids but I am divorced. I just had a baby. The baby is six months old now. Since I started working with the gang, I have made over N12 million. I used part of it to buy a car and the other to pay my children’s school fees,” she said after being paraded by the Lagos State Police Command.
“I am not proud of myself neither am I proud of what has happened. I just hope I can make a positive change on the society. I pray God will give me the opportunity to do so in future. I believe no one is above mistake and I believe God will grant me the grace.
“ What I did was wrong, but nobody is above mistake. It was my financial responsibility and the economic situation of the country that led me into the gang. I live in Lekki. What I do for the gang is that I talk with prospective victims on the phone. Senator gives me the number, tells me what to say and then I call the victim. I have not built any house; I still live in a rented two-bedroom apartment in Lekki”.
Amira was alleged to be a member of a six-man armed robbery gang which specialised in impersonating operatives of EFCC to rob bureau de change operators in Abuja and Lagos.
Other suspects are Princewill Eze, aka Senator Nwobodo, 55; Daniel Okpara, 30; Paul Irior, 37; Bassey Williams Ekpenyong, 39; and Royal Nwabuike, 32. They were arrested in Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja respectively.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, while parading the suspects, said that, on February 25, at about 5pm, he received information about a gang of armed robbers using the EFCC uniform and handcuffs to rob bureau de change operators in Abuja and Lagos of dollars, pounds sterling and Euro.
Aderanti subsequently asked the state Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) commander, Abba Kyari, to launch a manhunt. The manhunt paid off as detectives tracked and arrested the suspected gang leader, Senator Nwobodo, in Ajah on February 27, at about 4pm. His alleged confession led to the arrest of Amira and other members of the gang.
The suspects were said to have a complete set of communication system of the police inside a vehicle which allowed them to intercept police communications. They also reportedly had police escort vehicles, police walkie talkie, EFCC vest used impersonate the anti-graft agencies officials.
Confessing to the crime, Eze said, “I didn’t recruit anyone of them into the gang; they all joined the gang on their own freewill because they are all adults. I am from Ikanu lGA, Enugu state. I am married with five children. I was into hospitality business before I ventured into robbery. The senator name is an appellation. I did not hold a political position. I live in a rented apartment at VGC. I did not own the house. Some of my daughters are in school abroad.
“We have made about N15m. I have used the money to buy different property, but the police have seized them all. I bought different vehicles”.
Another member of the gang, a dismissed police officer, Paul Irior, said: “We were not using guns. I was serving with CMS Mopol 2, Lagos. I built a house in Benin. I met the senator in 2014. My role was to act as policeman. I would wear uniform and pose with the fake EFCC officials. Any time they had a deal, they invited me. Sometimes, I got a million per operation.
“They would bring the money to us in convenient places like hotels and banks. I also run a hotel. It is about five years now that we started the deals. I was arrested by the police four years ago for a similar issue, but secured bail by the court.
Lagos State Police Command spokesman, Ken Nwosu, said efforts were on to arrest the only gang member still at large.