A 29-year-old robbery suspect, Ikechukwu Ozorumba, who had revealed how his gang allegedly killed a Taxify driver in Lagos and dumped his body by the road in order to steal his vehicle, has been remanded in prison.
Ozorumba was remanded in prison following his appearance before the Lagos State Magistrate Court in Igbosere over the alleged murder charge preferred against him by the police..
Allso docked with the suspect was one Chima Chukwuemeka, 38, a farmer in Oguta area of Imo State from Amaraku, Isiala-Mbano, Imo State, who was alleged to have harboured the robbery suspect at his farm to evade police arrest.
Ozurumba and Chukwuemeka were also charged with the theft of the Taxify (a ride sharing service) driver’s car, which is valued at N1.5 million.
They are standing trial on a five-count charge bordering on murder, theft and accessory after the fact, preferred against them by the Federal Special Anti-Robbery squad.
Olufemi Ebenezer Olotu from Akoko in Ondo State who was resident in Mowe, Ogun State with his family, was the driver of a Toyota Camry Car with number plate SMK 980 FM, has been identified as the driver allegedly killed by the robbery suspect.
Ozorumba had been on the run since December last year before he was recently arrested in Imo State by operatives of the Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad, (FSARS) at Adeniji Adele, Lagos.
The robbery suspect, who ran away from Lagos after committing the crime, while at the police custody, revealed how he and one Kelechi (aka Sunshine), who is now at large, planned and executed the killing of the Taxify driver whom they hired at Bode Thomas, Surulere, Lagos on their way to Okokomaiko at midnight of December 26, 2018.
When the defendants appeared before the court, the prosecutor, Mr A. O. Fadipe, told the court that the duo committed the alleged offences on December 26, 2018, at 6.15pm at Festac and Okokomaiko area of Lagos, respectively.
He said that the first defendant, Ozurumba, conspired with Kelechi (aka Sunshine) and killed Ebenezer, the driver, by beating him with some tools before strangling him, which resulted in his death.
Fadipe said after killing the victim, the defendant dumped his body at Jimoh Street, Okokomaiko, Lagos.
According to the prosecutor, the defendant also made away with the victim’s car.
He alleged that the second defendant, Chukwuemeka, “with the knowledge that the first defendant committed an offence, gave him shelter to prevent his arrest by the police.”
According to him, the offences contravened Sections 1 (2) (b), 6 (b), of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
Also Section 233 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The plea of the first defenant, Ozurumba, was not taken but the second defendant, Chukwuemeka, pleaded not guilty to the charge of accessory after the fact.
Counsel to the defendants, Mr Francis Agaoro, urged the court to admit the second defendant to bail, adding that the charge against the second defendant “is a bailable offence”.
The prosecutor urged the court to remand both defendants.
He opposed the bail application made in respect of the second defendant, adding that he was charged under robbery and firearms law which was under the jurisdiction of the high court.
However, Magistrate O. O. Oshin remanded the first defendant in prison pending the outcome of the Director of Public Prosecutions legal advice.
She granted the second defendant bail in the sum of N250, 000 in like sum and adjourned the case until May 28 for mention.
Nemesis caught up with the robbery suspect when the family of the late driver petitioned the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of FSARS, Lagos, Mr Kola, Okunola Kamaldeen, that their breadwinner who worked with Taxify Car Hiring Services in Lagos left home for work on December 26, 2018 and had yet to return home.
Following the report, Kamaldeen directed his crack team led by SP Olaniyi Festus to do everything to locate the missing driver.
A police source disclosed that after days of intelligence gathering in Lagos, the police team, following a tip-off, found the body of the late driver dumped on Jimoh Street, Okokomaiko, Ojo, Lagos.
The police evacuated the body and deposited it in the mortuary.
The source further said that the police team later tracked the robbery suspect through the phone number of the victim to Imo State where they arrested the farmer who led the police to his farm in Oguta, Imo State, to arrest the robbery suspect.
The robbery suspect also led the police to recover the stolen car at a hideout in Imo State and they brought the two suspects and the recovered Car to FSARS office in Lagos.
During investigation, according to the police, the robbery suspect allegedly confessed to the crime and said that he and his accomplice, Kelechi, now on the run, did not intend to kill the driver, but just to rob him of his car and in the process of doing that the driver proved stubborn which led to his death.
Ozorumba is said to have confessed to strangling the driver to death.
In his alleged confessions to the police, Ozorumba stated: “On 26 December 2018, around 11 pm, we chartered the driver as passengers in Surulere area of Lagos and told him to take us to Okolomaiko area of Lagos and on our way, we ordered him to surrender his car key to us, but he refused and started struggling with us and in the process, we strangled him to death and dump his body on Jimoh Street, Okokomaiko and drove the car to my residence.
“I told everybody that I just bought the car, including my wife, and later I drove it to Imo State to look for a buyer,” the suspect allegedly told the police.
In his own alleged narrations, Chukwuemeka stated: “If I had known that Ozorumba robbed a driver of his car and killed him, I would not have harboured him in my farm till the police came to Imo State from Lagos to arrest me of what I know nothing about,” he stated.