He was a member of a six-man gang of suspected armed robbers that had operated successfully in a beer parlour situated at Shomolu, a Lagos suburb. But luck ran out on him as he attempted to withdraw money with the automated teller machine (ATM) card the gang had snatched from the owner of the beer parlour.
Recalling the events that culminated in his arrest, Sodiq Suleiman (28), a native of Ibadan, Oyo State and resident of No. 21, Fetuga Street, Bariga, Lagos, said he was a cobbler and hawker of ice cream in Obalende area of Lagos before he joined the robbery gang.
“The idea to rob came to my mind one Sunday when I met Johnson (a fellow suspect), who took me to an Indian hemp smoking joint and persuaded me to start smoking but failed.
“I got annoyed with Johnson, I stopped going to that joint from that day but the friends I had made at the joint kept coming to me at P and T where I was selling yoghourt. I did not know that they were targeting my money. One day, they stole my money and all efforts to trace them failed.
“Devastated by the loss of my money, I stopped selling yoghourt. I could not even continue with shoe mending. It got to the point that I could no longer afford food to keep my body and soul together. It was in this mood that they were able to convince me to join them in armed robbery.
“Initially, they exempted me from their operations on the grounds that I was still a ‘baby’ and they would not want to risk the trouble a novice like me usually caused a gang during or after a robbery operation.
“At about 10pm on Monday May 21, 2012, we carried out operations at two beer parlours in Bariga area. The six of us got about N40,000. We also collected the ATM card of a woman who operated one of the beer parlours. We had monitored her and knew that she used to go to the bank frequently to deposit money. We commanded her to give us the pin number of the ATM card to enable us to withdraw money from her account.
“After we had shared the money we collected from the beer parlour and other night crawlers, we deliberated on what to do with the ATM card. Some of us saw it as a risky venture to go to the bank to withdraw money from the account of a robbery victim. So, they opted out of it.
“Those who supported the idea encouraged me to go to the bank. They said I should take half of the money if I succeeded. But they also said I should not mention their names if the venture failed.
“On Monday May 22, I told my colleagues that I was going to Pakoto in Yaba to see one of my friends. On getting to Yaba, I trekked to Sabo area where I saw a new generation bank and went in to withdraw money with the woman’s ATM card.
“I inserted the ATM card but it did not work. I tried to bring it out but it would not come out. I decided to go into the banking hall to lodge a complaint. I told the bank’s officials that my ATM card was trapped in their machine. They took my name and discovered that it was different from the name with which the card was registered.
“They later called one of the bank’s security men to take me outside for questioning. The security man used the questioning session to delay me until the policemen the bank had called arrived and arrested me. I was taken to Shomolu Police Station and later to SARS’ building.”
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Imaru Manko, confirmed Sodiq’s arrest, warning criminals to relocate from Lagos, which he says now has zero tolerance for crime.
via The Nation
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