In Anambra State, pickpockets now wear uniforms otherwise called Aso ebi to rob guests at funerals.
Sources revealed that upon hearing the announcement of a rich person in the state, the pickpockets would enquire the type of mourning clothes approved for the funeral and would sew such uniforms for their “business” at an appointed time.
“These people are good looking guys and ladies. You will hardly suspect them as dubious persons. With the uniform, they would beat security and enter the VIP stands where they would rob people of their valuables.
“It happened when Mike Merchandise was buried. It happened when the father of the Anambra State deputy governor was buried. It has become a trend in the state,” one of the victims, Nkiruka Okeke, told Southern City News.
During the funeral of Sir Richard Okeke, the father of Anambra State Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, recently, no fewer than 10 cell phones, several handbags and cash were stolen from guests at the funeral, which took place at Enugu Ukwu, Njikoka Local Government Area of the state.
At the graveside, when the patriarch of the Okeke family was being lowered to his final rest place, a female voice shouted, ‘my money, my money’.
She pounced on a young man near her and behold N100,000 was found in the young man’s pocket.
Security agents descended on the man; beat him thoroughly before whisking him to the police station.
At the VIP tent, one of those who lost their phones and other valuables, Mrs. Roseline Okoye, said she lost her N50,000 and her phone.
According to her, “I bought that phone just last week and it was a costly phone. I bought it N60,000.
“They took everything with my handbag. There was N50,000 in that bag. What is all this? How can this happen in this high class VIP tent?”
Reacting through the telephone on Friday, the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Mr. Hosea Karma, said he was aware of the development.
He said, “Somebody has called me and told me about it. But the police in the state have not arrested anybody wearing ‘aso ebi’ to rob anybody during funerals.
“I must tell you that pickpocketing is not a new crime. It’s everywhere. What I will advise is that people attending such ceremonies should guard their personal effects.
“It’s not an issue of security lapse, unless what you are saying is that police should be carrying the handbags of every VIP on such occasions.”