By Afeez Hanafi, Punch Newspaper
Four members of a robbery gang operating as cab drivers in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, have been arrested by the Police for dispossessing unsuspecting passengers of valuables.
The suspects, Didi Jolly, Chisom Unegbu, Michael Matthew, and George Ala, were rounded up recently by operatives of Inspector-General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
It was learnt that Jolly, Ala and Mathew were dropouts from the same secondary school where they also belonged to a gang.
The suspects reportedly picked their victims from different bus stops and robbed them of their belongings as the journey progressed. They would later drop them off and flee.
“They also detain ed their victims while they took time to withdraw money from their accounts. Three of the suspects were all initiated into a cult group known as Icelander while they were in Junior Secondary School,” a Police source said.
Jolly in his statement to the Police stated how he joined the gang as a 14-year-old pupil which forced his parents to relocate to their hometown in Cross River.
The 28-year-old said he became homeless as he refused to relocate with his parents, revealing that he ended up joining the robbery gang.
He said. “After my mother and siblings relocated to our hometown, Calabar (Cross River State), things were tough for me. I later met one Gbongbon who allowed me to live in his room. He was the one who introduced me to robbery. Recently, we used cars to rob people. One of us would pretend to be a taxi driver, and pick one or two persons. Two of us would also board the same car and rob the passengers along the way. We collected phones and money from them.”
He said they sold stolen expensive phones between N10,000 and N15,000, adding that he regretted not listening to his mother who consistently begged him to relocate to Calabar.
Ala, who hails from Bonny Island in Rivers State, said he dropped out of school in JSS3 after her parents died within a year interval.
He stated that it was at a workshop where he was learning carpentry that he met a fellow apprentice and schoolmate who initiated him into gangsterism.
The 26-year-old explained that his mother before her death warned him to quit if he did not want his life to be miserable.
“When we started using cabs to rob, I would enter the car as soon as our target entered. It is Gbongbon who made arrangement for all the guns we used during operations. We only used the gun to scare people.”
Unaegbu, a cab driver, who hails from Ehite Mbaise in Imo State, said he was a victim of a broken home, adding that his father allegedly abandoned him and his two siblings. He said what his mother earned as an auxiliary nurse was not enough to take care of the family.
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