The Lagos police command Monday paraded seven dismissed soldiers among 81 other robbery suspects.
Apart from robbery, the suspects were also nabbed for other offenses which include murder and cultism.
The state Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, said the command in the last few months apprehended 40 suspected armed robbers, 29 cultists and 19 murderers, adding that 31 armed robbery attempts were foiled, 19 firearms and 51 ammunition recovered.
He assured that the police and sister agencies would in a few weeks commence robust operations ahead of the yuletide to ensure that criminals did not flood into the state before, during and after the celebrations.
Giving details on the arrests, Muazu said seven dismissed soldiers, Ndidi Oluchukwu, 30; Owolabi Adeyemo ,42; David Olufemi, 47; Iseyin Samuel Isreal, 41; Emeka Ibeh, 29, Samuel Anochime, 36, and Ebedot Stephen, 27 were arrested for armed robbery and car snatching.
The police chief said they were notorious for oppressing residents of Ijegun adding that an incident occurred around 4:35pm on February 19 where they snatched the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) of a commuter travelling to Ibadan.
“It is on the strength of those complaints that we tasked our Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives to identify the gang and apprehend them.
“Members of the robbery gang were arrested at Ijegun, Baruwa Estate, Ipaja, Iyana-Paja, Ishashi and Ikotun areas of Lagos. Investigation revealed that the suspects are dismissed soldiers and items recovered from them include 12 pairs of military camouflage uniforms, two cutlasses, ATM cards, military ID cards, jack knives, a female pant and a local ring. The suspects confessed to be responsible for series of robberies within Ijegun and its environs and they will be charged to court as soon as investigation has been concluded,” he said.
However, the suspects told reporters they were not armed robbers, insisting that they were only involved in illegal excursion of vehicles.
While three admitted to have been dismissed from the army for fleeing the war front in the northeast, two said they were of the Merchant Navy, while the other two were civilians that got the camouflages through an unnamed commander.
Also paraded were 11 suspected traffic robbers said to have been arrested at the early hours of September 14 at Igando.
Muazu said their arrest followed the report of an armed robbery case by one Atolagbe Oyindamola, a resident of 14, Alaka Street, Abule Oja in Yaba, against one Ahmed Durojaiye, 23; Waheed Oseni, 24; Rilwan Moshood 27 and Taiwo Idowu, 32.
He said the suspects were notorious for snatching phones, money and other valuables from unsuspecting members of the public in traffic, adding that they operated mostly on motorcycles.
“When the four suspects were arrested, a locally made pistol was recovered from them and they confessed to be members of Eiye confraternity. A follow up investigation by the State CIID led to the arrest of additional seven suspects- Mosuru Mukaila, 20; Ahmed Oyebode, 29; Seyi Ogundele, 36; Ogunmola Akintayo, 30; Olatunji Segun ,28; Ayobami Olaniyi, 20 and Oladimeji Mustapha, 27.
“They confessed to be responsible for series of robberies at traffic points, bus stops, around Yabatech, Yaba, Ejigbo, Igando-Ikotun, Ipaja and Isolo areas of the state. A tricycle, five Bajaj motorcycles, two cutlasses and two phones were recovered from them.
“Investigation revealed that Ahmed Oyebode who is a cultist and motorcycle operator gave his bike out for robbery operations and received stolen phones, cash derived from the operations as reward. Meanwhile, Seyi Ogundele and Ogunmola Akintayo are well known leaders of Eiye cult group in Ejigbo. They will be charged to court,” he said.