The Nigerian Police has arrested Fulani men suspected to be members of a notorious kidnapping and armed robbery syndicate that has been terrorizing the entire residents of Okeho and Iganna communities in Iwajowa Local Government Area Of Oyo State.
According to The Nation, a police source disclosed that the suspects were arrested after several reports of armed robbery and kidnapping of notable figures by the hoodlums said to be armed with high calibre rifles was continually made, which forced the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to deploy his newly designed elite operatives of Special Intelligence Team (SIT) to Oyo State, to track and apprehend the culprits.
In defence, one of the suspects, Mohammad Abudlahi, a Fulani from Kwara State, who claims to be a graduate of Mathematics with two wives and three children, said it was poverty that led him into crime.
He said that after graduating from the university, he managed to secure a teaching job where he earned just N15,000 monthly, which he said was too poor for him. In his words he said;
“Before I was arrested, I was a teacher. I quit my job because I wanted to join the Nigerian Army. I applied but I wasn’t admitted.
“I obtained an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Mathematics and Statistics from Kwara State Polytechnic in 2005 and went further to obtain a BSC in Mathematics from Kwara State University. I graduated in 2009 and proceeded for National Youth Service. I started working in 2011. I got a job at a private secondary school in Okeho.
“I taught Physics and Mathematics and earned N15, 000 monthly. I was very popular among most residents of the area, especially the people of my tribe. I grew up in that area with my parents and siblings. I was also staying there with my wives and children.
“Most of my friends who knew I was well educated knew that I was not making enough money from my job. A few months ago, two of them, Damanya and Abubakar, approached me with an idea. They said that since I was highly respected and well known in the community, I could always make good money for myself by giving them information about rich people residing in the community.
“I asked what they needed to do with such information and they said they would either rob or kidnap such persons. I told them that I could not do so because my eyes are very bad and I could barely see at night.
“Damanya told me that all they needed was for me to always look out for potential targets and when it is identified, in the case of kidnapping I would be on ground to gather intelligence from relatives of the victims. In other cases, I would have to tell and give them information on persons they wanted to rob.
“We did a couple of jobs. I gave them information when they wanted to rob a cattle rearer after he had sold some cattle. I informed them when the man came home and I followed him secretly until he mounted a motorcycle. I gave them the information and by evening the news went round that the man had been robbed and the money he made from the sale of his cattle was carted away. From that operation, I got N40, 000.
“There were several other times they blocked the highway leading to the border and robbed traders going for business across the border and dispossessed them of their monies. When they returned, they brought my own share, because they didn’t want me to tell anyone the people who carried out the operation.
“There were several operations we did together and I usually got my share. But last month, they went and kidnapped one Alhaji Maikudi, who is a rich cattle rearer. It was his son, Hassan, who brought the job and I didn’t know his reason.
“Hassan is also my friend, but he works with his father who has a herdsman and they have several cows. He gave the information to Danmayan and they kidnapped his father, took him into the bush and kept him there for one week before a sum of N1.5 million was paid as ransom and he was released.
“During the operation I was in the community monitoring what was happening. I was attending meetings and I took part in planning how we would go and look for Alhaji Maikudi. My father also took part in the search. He was also in the bush looking for Alhaji.
“Some of my gang members were also with them and they were always relaying information to those keeping Alhaji. On my part, I was always giving them information about any plan that was to be carried out in the community.
“In the end, Hassan ensured that the sum of N1.5 million was paid as ransom after some of his father’s cattle were sold. He got, N700,000 as his own share while Abubakara, Damanya, Saidu and I got N200,000 each. I had barely spent my own money when I was arrested by the police.
I was picked up in a bar, where I had gone to have some drinks. The policemen were also in the bar drinking and I didn’t know that they were policemen. I liked the way they were seated and offered to buy them some drinks. But before I knew what was happening, I was arrested and whisked away.
“I had thought that the policemen were from Ibadan on routine raid, and I threatened to call my lawyer. It was when I got here that I realized that I was in a deep mess. I told the police the role I played and took them to my house and handed over my N200,000 share of the ransom.”