Members of the five-man robbery gang, which attacked Mr. Wilson Onazi, father of Super Eagles’ player, Paul Onazi, at his Jos, Plateau State, home, were arrested while at the verge of selling off the SUV they stole at a hotel in Imoda, Ajagbandi area of Lagos, by Anti-Crime Policemen led by the Divisional Police Officer in Charge of Ajagbandi Division, Mr. Musa Alimi.
Four men, pretending to be postmen, stormed Onazi’s building on 57A, Government Reserved Area, GRA, Utan, Jos, where they handed him a fake letter. Thereafter, they collected his phone, a bag containing his personal effects and zoomed off in the SUV.
During preliminary investigation, the alleged mastermind of the robbery attack was discovered to be a family friend of the Onazis. He was identified as Kingsley David, a graduate of Psychology from the University of Jos. Two other suspects were also graduates of different higher institutions, while the rest were businessmen in Plateau and Lagos states.
David, who owns a popular boutique in Jos, was paraded before journalists at the command’s headquarters yesterday. He stated that the gang’s intention was to use the SUV to celebrate the just-concluded Eid el-Kabir, revealing also that the robbery operation was planned in less than one week.
He said: “I am a family friend of the Onazis, and I live close to their house in Jos. I initiated the plan to attack him. The idea came up when I was discussing with my friends. “We planned the attack in my shop and I showed them the house, with an agreement to share whatever we got from the operation equally.
“However, I did not go with them for the operation because I did not want to be noticed. I waited for them at the junction and came to Lagos with them. They did not go with guns because that was not part of the plan. They only went with a knife.
“When they went for the robbery, they told Onazi’s father they wanted to use the car and return it later. We just needed the car to have fun during the Sallah break.”
Another suspect, Ugochukwu Ebuka, 28, a Senior Secondary Certificate holder from Idemili, Anambra State, disclosed that the gang did not beat the victim as reported, adding that they only collected N5,000 from him including his ATM card, which they claimed they never made any withdrawal with.
Explaining how they stormed the building, Ebuka, who also sells clothes in Plateau State, said: “Three us, Alliu, Joe and I went for the operation. When we got to the gate, we knocked and he opened. “When we forced our ways in, he tried to resist us but we held him and took him aside. We also discovered that he was drunk, and so did not beat him because he is an old man.
“When he discovered we were robbers, he begged us not to harm him and that we should collect whatever we wanted. When we demanded money, he said he had no money with him and gave us just N5,000 cash.
“We took his car because we wanted to use it to escape. We drove straight to where we promised him we would keep it. But on reaching the place, we called Feringanda. We thought keeping it there would implicate us and Joe suggested we take it to Lagos, since he knew those who would buy it.
“We went there to get money and not the car because we were told that he lived alone, and neither assist anyone nor like people coming close to him. He is also stingy.”
On his part, Ali Audu, 20, a printer and graphic designer stated that he was armed with a wooden axe, while others were with daggers.
He said: “I acted as a postman. When I knocked, the man asked who was there and I told him that I had a letter from Lagos for him. Immediately he opened the gate, we all went inside. We stormed the house at 11a.m.”
Also speaking, Joseph Ozor, 24, a graduate of Science Education from the University of Jos, said that his role in the operation was to stand outside the building to watch out for any intruder. He expressed regrets over his action, saying “I would have insisted we kept the vehicle at the designated place as promised. At least, I would not have been in this mess.”
Parading the suspects before journalists, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Fatai Owoseni, said four of the suspects were involved in the operation, while two others were accomplices who intended to buy the stolen SUV with number plates GMU 300 AA.
He said the arrested suspects would be handed over to the Plateau State Police Command alongside the exhibits to conclude investigation and subsequently charge them to court.