The police yesterday named a 29-year-old alleged drug baron as one of the brains behind the April 5 bank robberies in Offa, Kwara State.
Adegoke Shogo, described as a mega distributor of Indian hemp, allegedly provided part of the logistics used during the operation that claimed at least 17 lives, including those of nine policemen.
Twelve more suspects, including Shogo, have been arrested by the police in connection with the robberies, Force Headquarters spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, told reporters in Abuja.
This brings to 20 the number of people so far arrested over the operation.
The police said Adegoke Shogo sponsored the attacks with “misplaced expectations of expanding his criminal and social profile.”
Among the suspects is 18-year-old Aminu Ibrahim.
He was picked up in Ilorin, the state capital.
Other suspects in the second set of arrests are Kayode Opadokun (35); Kazeem Abdulrasheed (36); Azeez Abdullahi (27); Alexander Reuben (39); Jimoh Isa (28); Azeez Salawudeen (20); Adewale Popoola (22); Adetoyese Muftau (23); Aminu Ibrahim (18); Richard Buba Terry (23) and Peter Jaba Kuunfa (25).
One of the suspects, Alexander Reuben, the police said, confessed to having been sentenced to a jail term for armed robbery and possession of weapons, including a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG).
He was arrested in Lagos.
Moshood said of him: “Alexander is a veteran bank robber, and he was taken to court over the use and possession of various weapons including a GPMG and a military rocket launcher in 2015, but under circumstances that we have decided to painstakingly investigate, he left prison custody in 2017.
“We need to investigate whether the courts released him on bail or something else happened. We work with the judiciary, but we want the mass media to monitor criminal cases in the court the way they monitor suspects being paraded.”
Moshood said 20-year-old Azeez Salawudeen and 22-year-old Adewale Popoola were arrested in Offa with the mobile phones and SIM cards of victims of the robberies while 18-year-old Aminu Ibrahim was arrested in Ilorin.
He said one Beretta pistol and several rounds of ammunition were found in the possession of Aminu Ibrahim, Richard Buba Terry and Peter Jaba Kuunfa.
He said the arrests followed the deployment of a high-powered police investigation team, one Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), Three units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) comprising 63 men each and various anti-robbery equipment to Kwara State to “carry out discreet investigation into the bank robberies, prevent further attacks and bring perpetrators to justice.”
He added: “The police teams engaged in massive raids of identified criminal spots/flashpoints, stop-and-search operations, visibility and confidence building patrols, intelligence gathering which led to the arrest of the suspects.
“Some of the arrests also involved serious exchange of gun fire between the police and the suspects in their various hideouts.
“The following are the suspects arrested and have admitted to the various criminal roles they played in the bank robbery attacks and are also assisting police investigation into the incident:
“Adegoke Shogo, 29 years, native of Offa Kwara State. He was arrested in Offa after the bank robbery and the attack on the police station. He is a drug baron and also an Indian hemp dealer in Offa, Kwara State. According to intelligence gathered from cultivated and reliable informant, he is alleged to be one of the sponsors of the robbery attack and the Police Station in Offa. He has made useful statements to the roles he played in the armed robbery.
“Kayode Opadokun, 35 years, native of Offa, Kwara State. He was found to have been released from prison three months ago after serving only eight months of his sentence years for armed robbery. A notorious armed robber and confirmed gang member of the Offa bank robbers, a Barretta pistol and six rounds of live ammunition were recovered from him, and he has admitted to the criminal roles he played in the Offa banks robbery.
“Kazeem Abdulrasheed, 36 years, native of Offa, Kwara State, a gang member from whom a victim’s phone was found. He was arrested in Offa.
“Azeez Abdullahi, 27 years, Native of Offa, Kwara State, gang member from whom a victim’s phone and SIM cards were recovered.
“Alexander Reuben, 39 years, native of Isoko LGA Delta State. He is a notorious, deadly and hardened bank robber from whom GMPGs, rocket launchers and several rifles were recovered in 2015. He was released from Prison in December 2017. He was arrested on the 11th April, 2018 in Lagos.
“Jimoh Isa, 28 years, native of Okene Kogi State indicted by technical intelligence generated on the bank robbers. He was arrested on the 11th April, 2018 in Lagos.
“Three suspects, namely Azeez Salawudeen (20 years), Adewale Popoola (22 years) and Adetoyese Muftau (23 years) from whom two phones and SIM cards belonging to victims were recovered have also made confessional statements admitting to the various roles they played in the commission of the crime.
“Aminu Ibrahim, arrested in Ilorin; Richard Buba Terry; and Peter Jaba Kuunfa. These three suspects in whose possession another Beretta pistol and Fourteen (14) rounds of live ammunition were recovered, were arrested in connection with the Offa bank robbery. They have previously been investigated and charged to court for armed robbery and cultism. They have made confessional statements admitting to the various criminal roles they played in the recent bank robbery in Offa.”
• The Nation.