It was a bad day in the office for a popular trader at the Alaba International Market, Ojo, Lagos, John Nnamdi, as he and his gang of cross-border robbers were nabbed after they had stormed a bank and stole a whopping N100m.
Apart from that particular robbery, Nnamdi and his gang also operated in Benin Republic, and other West African countries like Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo and their home base, Nigeria.
But he and his deadly gang met their waterloo when men of the Anti-Robbery Squad of the Lagos State Police Command led by SP Abba Kyari, swooped on them and got them arrested while they were preparing for another operation.
Other members of the gang include Samuel Igbi, Anthony Umeh, Chineye David, Uchenna Eze, Victor Anamalechi, Ifeanacho Igwe, and Desmond Obinna.
While parading the notorious armed robbers, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti said the gang had been giving his men sleepless nights with the deadly operations.
He added that the gang had been terrorising Port Novo, Benin Republic and were the ones who carried out a deadly attack on a UBA Bank on Shagamu Road, Ikorodu.
“The gang members also confessed to several robbery operations which had taken place in big cities in Nigeria.
According to them, the biggest of all their operations was the N100 million bank operation.”
The leader of the gang, Nnamdi, a father of 4, confessed that the N100 million robbery occurred in 2011, at the Alakija area of Lagos.
He said his own share was N28 million. Nnamdi disclosed that he used to sell musical instruments at the Alaba International Market and it was while he was a trader he conceived and planned the bank robbery.
“The operation in Alakija was in 2011. We made about N100 million. I got a share of N28 million. I was a trader at the Alaba International Market, Ojo area, before I organised the gang. We have gone for about five operations.
We went to Port Novo, Benin Republic, to rob a micro-finance bank. We broke into the bank through the back. We used two guns for that operation. The security men were asleep. We woke and tied them.
One of our members opened the safe, and we began to pack money. I was given N7 million and the other four also got N7 million each.
I have gone for about four operations in Nigeria and Benin Republic; I have not gone to any other country. We have never killed or shot anyone because we usually go at night and don’t shoot. I have never used charm, but I pray before going for operations.
As a Catholic, I go for confessions, but I have never told the priest that I am an armed robber. I am from Obinwa in Abia State.
I am married and my wife is currently pregnant. She does not know I am an armed robber. I was arrested at Ijebu because I had a problem with someone over a vehicle. I regret my actions and I want an opportunity to change.
I bought a Toyota Corolla with my own share of the money. We used the vehicle to further our operations. We keep our guns in a compartment under the car. We have escaped being caught on several occasions.”
The Ploice Commissioner said that on 15 November, 2014, he received information of a trans-border gang that was putting finishing touches to a grand plan to unleash terror on the Lagos residents.
“It was based on the information that I immediately directed the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), led by Abba Kyari to go after the robbers.
The team tracked and located the gang’s hideouts around Iba, Festac and Igando areas of the state. We succeeded in arresting two members of the gang, Samuel Igbi and Anthony Umeh.
A search was conducted on the suspects and their hideouts. The police recovered two AK47 rifles, 11 AK47 magazines and one Toyota Sienna bus.”