2 Jan 2016

PHOTO: Robbers Disappointed with Empty Vault Say They’re Now Looking for Money to Pay those Hired from Lagos

Four suspects who were alleged to be members of a gang of robbers who recently broke into a branch   of an old generation bank in Ilututu area of Ondo State, have said they were disappointed not finding a dime in the bank’s vault.   The suspects, who were   rounded up last weekend, by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, SIRT, in Ondo State, were said to have broken into the bank with the aid of a security guard, who had worked with bank.

Vanguard gathered that the guard, who was fired last year over a yet to be known reason, was said to have approached a member of the gang,   Michael Mipera, a native of Ajapa in   Eseodo Local Government Area of Ondo State, with the idea of robbing the bank, as there was less security around the bank at night.

Sources disclosed that, Mipera, after conducting his own survey around the bank, invited two of his friends, Thankgod Sugha and Ebibo Winoh, from his home town to Ilututu and rented an apartment for them. He was   also said to have   invited six militants based at a   camp in Ijegemo-Isheri   Oshun, Lagos State, headed by   one TK, a notorious   pipeline vandal and bank robber.

The hoodlums from Lagos, who were led by one Bright, were said to have supplied the gang with two Ak 47 rifles and additional   expertise on how to break   into bank. They were also   said to have struck the bank on December 24, 2015, a day before Christmas, but ended up finding no money in the banks vault.

Vanguard was reliably informed that the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, had received an intelligence report on the gang’s activities and he deployed operatives of the SIRT,   headed by CSP Abba Kyari to   Ondo State, to track and   apprehend the suspects.     Sources informed Vanguard that a motorcycle operator who runs errand for one of the suspects was first   apprehended and he led the operatives in arresting four of suspects including one of the militants from Lagos.

The suspects who were identified as Ebibo Winoh 23, Michael Mipera 22,   Thankgod Sugha 24,   and Idowu Sobijoh 23, narrated their separate   roles   in the operation and how they joined the gang. Winoh and Sugha confessed that Mipera invited them for the job, but Sobijoh disclosed that the recent   disruption of their operations in Ijegemo by some soldiers made him venture into armed robbery.

According to him, “ I have never gotten myself involved into any   bank robbery before. This was my first attempt and it wasn’t completely my intention. It was the soldiers who stopped our operation at Ijegemo that forced me into it. The soldiers were demanding we pay them the sum of N5million before we could resume operation.

We offered them N3million but they refused. While we were broke, Bright got a call from Mipera about the Ilututu bank operation and he mobilized six of us to go for the operation. I didn’t get to Ilututu on time because I was very broke but when I got to Ondo State, I was informed that the operation went successful but they didn’t get any money from the bank. Unfortunately, I was arrested on my way back to my village in Ajapa. “ He narrated.

On how he became a militant, Sobijoh said one of his relatives introduced him to pipeline vandalism when he was looking for money to marry. He said “ after I impregnated my woman, her family insisted I must marry her before I could take her away as wife. Then I was very broke, one of brothers who was into pipeline vandalism at Arepo in Ikorodu asked me to join him and stop being lazy. I followed him to Lagos and when we arrived Ikorodu, I joined the Fatola Camp and I was introduced to the Commander, known Ossy and I was given a gun to carry but I declined and told them that I have never used   a gun before and they asked me to leave the camp.

I left, and I was staying in Ishawo, but at Night my brother would call me, we would move into the creek with our jerry cans to siphon fuel from the pipeline. After working for two weeks I raised enough money for the bride price and I took the money home and I performed her marriage rite. When I returned back to camp, I discovered that my brother had bought an additional 100 jerry cans and at night he woke me up to follow him to the line where we siphon the fuel but I refused.

Sincerely I was tired and I told him to leave me alone to have some rest. Around 2 am that I heard a large blast, when I looked out I saw massive fire at the spot where they were siphoning the products. We couldn’t go close to the place until the NNPC came and put out the fire . We counted 370 dead bodies when we got in and we buried them in three large graves. I also saw my brother’s corpse because he wasn’t burnt completely. He and many others trying to scape were   trapped in the mud.

That incident was so tragic and I contemplated quitting the job, but I couldn’t because I had no other job. Few weeks after that, I witnessed how they killed nine officials of DSS. I actually didn’t know the why they were killed but it was one Igbala who opened fire on all of them. After that killing, I knew there would be trouble so I parked my things and left for Ijegemo where I teammed up with Bright who is a boy to TK, the Commander.” He stated.

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