Vanguard (Lagos)

13 February 2013

Nigeria: Lagos Traffic Laws Turned Me Into a 'Pick-Pocket' - Ex-Okada Rider

24-year-old Ibrahim Shoheeb, is recently cooling his heels at the State Criminal Investigation Department(SCID) Yaba, Lagos, following his arrest by members of the Lagos State Neighborhood Watch at Oto Awori community.

Saheed, in the company of two others, reportedly attacked a customer who had gone to withdraw money from one of the second generation banks around Ojo area at the weekend.

The trio of Yusuf Ahmed(35), Chinedu Okafor (28), and Shoheeb reportedly positioned their motorbike opposite the bank and immediately they sighted their victim, report said they trailed him to Alaba International market and while he(victim), was about to board a bus, they snatched the money from him and zoomed off.

They reportedly ran into a hotel in Ojo community and booked for a room.

But unknown to them, a motorist said to have been chasing the motorcycle saw them entering into the hotel and alerted leader of the vigilante group who coincidentally lives on the same street the hotel is located, consequent upon which they were apprehended.

In his confessional statement, Shoheeb said, " I knew it would result to this but I did not know it will be this soon. The new Lagos State Traffic Law pushed me into this because I had my motorcycle seized by the Lagos state task force. I made efforts to get it back but to no avail.

"Since then, I have been feeding from hand to mouth. Do you know what it means for someone to beg before eating?

"Just when I was contemplating on what next to do, a member of the gang, Chinedu, introduced me into this. I hesitated at first. But when I went to beg him for money, he refused. Thus, I was tempted to join", he stated

His partners in crime on their parts,confessed to have been into the crime for three years. Their modus oparandi included, driving their motorbike along routes where banks are located. On sighting a customer coming out from the bank, they would reportedly trail him or her to a convenient place, from where they would snatch the withdrawn money.

Asked how they were able to determine anyone with money, they revealed that for men, their pockets were usually bulky, while the women usually clung their bags in a manner that arouse suspicion.

The suspects as gathered, were handed over to policemen at Ajangbadi police division from where they were transferred to SCID. Sources at SCID said they would be charged to court soon.

Meanwhile the sum of N50,000 snatched from their victim, was reportedly recovered while the gang was at the verge of sharing it.

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