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Police nab armed robbers in fake military uniform

The Lagos State Police Command on Friday paraded four men suspected to be armed robbers.

Parading the suspects at the police command in Ikeja, Lagos State commissioner of police, Fatai Owoseni, said the suspects wore military uniform and were robbing people of their valuables.

“On December 5, information was received at Ilado Police Post that youth of Ajakoyi beach arrested five men in military uniform who were robbing people of their money. The police swung into action, got the robbers rescued from the angry mob and recovered a sum of N308, 500,” the police commissioner said. While speaking to Saturday Punch, one of the suspects, Arubogu Bethel, who claimed to be a ‘Merchant Navy’, said he was invited by one of his friends for a ‘business’ not knowing it had to do with illegality.

“If I knew it was an illegal business, let a car knock me down to my death. It was Frank that told me I should escort him for a business and when I asked him the kind of business, he said it had to do with ‘catching’ people who are into oil bunkering.

“They didn’t tell me they were going to give me money. I didn’t even know there would be money involved. My own was just to look after the truck that had fuel; they didn’t tell me they were going to get money. I have been managing to pay my children’s school fees and take care of my family. Just look at me now, my wife has been looking for me since last Saturday. She doesn’t even know where I am. I didn’t know my friend would carry me to do something bad because I have known him for a long time,” he said. Meanwhile, the suspect who Bethel claimed introduced him to the business, Frank Onunze, told Saturday Punch that it was an army official that informed him about the illegal deal.

“I am a driver. It was the soldier that gave me this uniform and he said he would protect me. This is my first time of doing this. I was not caught with any of the arms. I don’t know what my fate would be. I just regret all this,” he said. Another suspect, Sunday Atamatasu, from Ogun State, who also claimed to be a Navy merchant, claimed he was misinformed about the ‘business.’

“I was just told I would help to catch those involved in oil bunkering and we would take those people to the police and we would negotiate with the police and get our own cut. It was somebody from the village that informed us about the deal. I am not a robber, I am just a driver,” he said.

Meanwhile, the police commissioner said the police would endeavour to rid the state of traffic robbers.

“We just want the public to assist us by not patronising street hawkers in traffic because traffic is slowed down by that. The traffic robbers have devised another means and they are trying to outsmart us but we are on top of the situation and we are ahead of them. The public should respect the law that has banned street trading,” Owoseni said.