By Odita Sunday
THE Lagos State Police command yesterday arrested four suspects out of the 11 who invaded the Lekki branch of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and carted away millions of Naira deposited by innocent Nigerians.
The robbers who raided the bank with sophisticated arms on March 12, 2015, killed about five persons, including three policemen and carted away N15 million from the bank’s branch located on Admiralty Way, Lekki.
The gun-wielding armed bandits had allegedly stormed the bank in two speedboats through the lagoon. Four of the suspects, Duke Odogbo (38 years old), Lawrence Kingsley (31), Ebi Tosan (20), and Ekelemo Kuete (30), who participated in the operation confessed at the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the State Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
In his confession, Duke Odogbo from Ijaw part of Ondo State, alleged that a friend named Vika invited him for the operation.
According to him, he was in Warri, Delta State, when the operation was planned by those he also identified as “our leaders at Arepo.
“I got about N500,000 as my share in the N15 million we stole during the operation. We left for the operation from an Island close to Abule Oba area of Ikorodu.
Initially I thought it was for us to vandalize NNPC pipeline. But I got to know that it was robbery when I arrived Arepo, so I jumped at it because I needed money.
“We left Arepo in two speed boats to Lekki on Wednesday, but one of the boats developed problem along the way, we all left in a boat. We slept in a creek at Lekki because it was late. The next day we proceeded to the bank.
Five of us entered the bank; five stayed outside the bank while the remaining five stayed in the boat. “I blew open the access door to the banking hall. We asked the staff of the bank to call their manager.
We came out with the sum of N15 million. When we came out, we left the same way we came. It was while we were in the boat that I discovered two strange AK 47 riffles. I demanded to know where it came from.
I was told that they got the guns from some policemen they killed. They told me that they saw a police patrol van parked by the side of the road and immediately opened fire on it, killing the three policemen on the spot.”
Parading the suspects, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Kayode Aderanti, said the police recovered one Honda Accord 2008 model, one white blackberry Z10 phone, one white Apple iPhone 5, one military fez cap and 130 expended ammunition from the suspects.
According to him, “after the movie-like action, the bandits left in their trail five corpses, three of which are policemen who though on another assignment patriotically and gallantly engaged the bandits in order to forestall their operations.
The three gallant policemen are Inspector Bethel Agbobu, Sgt. Odehowo George, and Cpl. Imoisiu Ikechukwu. “Two civilians were also mowed down by these dare-devil robbers.
They are Sowemimo Kabiru, Miss Sarah Ibikunle, who is a 15-year-old girl selling fish around the vicinity of the bank.” Another suspect who identified himself as Ekelemo Kuete and who drove one of the boats on the day of the operation, said he got only N50,000 as his own share from the stolen money.
“I must confess, I knew that we were going to rob a bank. I am a fuel bunkerer at Arepo and I make at least N80,000 from each bunkering operations. I remained in the boat along with four others while the other 10 members of the gang left for the bank.”
Aderanti that following the attack. he immediately directed the Officer in charge of SARS, Abba Kyari, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations and the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID) to fish out the fleeing gun men.
He noted that following to the directive, Kyari and his men through the deployment of advance technology was able to track the suspects. He further claimed that they headed back to Arepo where the money was shared according to their ranks.
“When they came back, they said we should leave immediately. We headed back to Arepo where our leaders shared the money according to individual involvement” he added.