The operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have smashed an allegedly notorious gang of armed robbers who were alleged to have terrorised Ayingba community in Dekani Local Government Area of Kogi State while pretending to be cult members.
According to an IRT source, five pistols, 15 rounds of 9mm live ammunition and charms were recovered from the suspects.
The suspects are Kazeem Mudi, Nasiru Yusuf, Riwa Aminu and Oki Yakubu.
It further disclosed that efforts to bust the gang yielded dividend when the operatives of the IRT raided the home of the gang leader, Oki Yakubu, following an intelligence report on the gang’s activities.
The suspects confessed that they were members of the Vikings Confraternity, popularly known as Arobaga, and that they had been engaged in protracted battle of supremacy with members of a rival cult group, Confraternity, over the control of Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State.
The gang leader, Oki Yakubu, revealed that the guns, ammunition and charms, which were found in his house when the IRT operatives raided his home, were those he and his group had been using to wage wars against their rivals.
Another police source, who pleaded for anonymity, because he was not permitted to speak officially on the matter, disclosed that the suspects had carried out several armed robbery attacks and killings around Ayingba and other communities within Dekina.
The source also revealed that the intelligence report, which led to their arrest, emanated from the office of the Inspector General of Police and was passed on to the IRT, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari,to get the expected result.
The source further explained that a crack team of operatives were deployed in Ayingba community to track down the suspects and they discovered, on arriving the community, that the suspects were highly dangerous as they always moved around the community and its environs with guns, robbing and intimidating people who crossed their path with impunity.
The source added that a member of the gang, Kazeem Mudi, was apprehended first at Ayingba Market Square, after he successfully robbed some traders in broad daylight of their cash and mobile phones at gunpoint.
He said: “He was arrested by IRT while he attempted to escape from the market square. The sound from the shot he fired while robbing his victim was what attracted the IRT to that market and they apprehended him on his motorcycle and recovered the pistol he used for the operation.
When he was interrogated, he confessed that his gang members were in Oki’s community waiting for him to bring home his loot from the robbery and that his gang leader had more guns in his house.
He was taken to the home of his gang leader, who ran into the ceiling when he sighted the police. He was chased out and arrested. He led the police to arrest two other members of the gang and they confessed that they were the ones who robbed an Igbo businessman in his shop recently using one of the guns recovered from the gang leader’s house.
On the claim by the suspects that they were cult members and not armed robbers, the source said: ” I am not worried that the suspects were claiming not to be armed robbers but cult members. It is normal for criminals to lie even when they were caught in the act. They do this to reduce the magnitude of their crime once they are caught with credible evidence so as to gain some sympathy.”
In his confession, the 21-year-old Kazeem Mubi denied robbing traders at Ayingba Market but stated how he joined the Arobaga Confraternity. He said he was at the market to attack members of the Confraternity, when he was arrested. ” I joined the Arobaga Confraternity in 2017 and one of my friends, Rabiu, who is now dead, made me to join the group. I didn’t know that the Arobagas had an on-going war with members of the Confraternity.
“I was attacked by members of the Confraternity the moment news got into the town that I was a member of a rival cult group. My friend, Rabiu, was killed and my house was burnt to the ground. I managed to escape. I went to our leader, Oki, and demanded for a gun I could use to revenge the killing of my friend and burning down of my house, when I learned that some members of the Confranternity were at Ayingba Market Square.
“I went there with the gun that Oki gave me and I shot at one of them when I sighted him. It was when I attempted to escape that the police showed up and arrested me. I took them to Oki’s house where he was arrested and four other pistols were recovered”.
While narrating how he and three other members of his gang robbed an Igbo businessman, who does business at Igiolo Community in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, another suspect, Nasiru Yusuf, said: ” I am a member of the Arobaga Confraternity and I joined the group three years ago. I led three of my friends to rob a grocery shop belonging to an Igbo man in Ayingba and it was my gang leader, Oki, that gave me the gun for the operation.
We took N100,000 from the man and I got N20, 000 as my share. I ran away to Abuja when policemen came looking for me.
They didn’t succeed in arresting me then. It was when I came back to Ayingba and visited Oki that the police picked me up.”
The gang leader, Oki, said he joined the Arobaga Confraternity due to the oppression he suffered from members of Confraternity. “They usually oppressed my friends and me. Then we decided to join Arobaga. Since then, we have been fighting. I owned four of the pistols that were recovered from me and I bought them for my protection. The charms that were recovered from my house belonged to my late grandfather. I didn”t use them for armed robbery. The guys fighting us are so deadly. They have killed more than eight of my friends in the last two years. So we need these guns for our protection.”