The long arms of the law have again caught up with a convict, Ibrahim Umaru who escaped from Ogwashi prison in Delta State sometime in 2014. The suspect was sentenced to five years imprisonment for illegal possession of firearm but decided to flee months after his conviction.
According to a police source, Umaru was first arrested along the Ogwashi road in 2014 when policemen on patrol accosted him while he took some cows for grazing. They searched and found a gun on him, charged him to court for illegal possession of firearm and he pleaded guilty.
Umaru, was said to have been sentenced to five years in prison, after he pleaded guilty but he escaped from prison and fled to his home town in Zamfara State.
During interrogation after he was rearrested by operatives of Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), he told the police that while in the village, he joined the notorious cattle rustling syndicate headed by one Buhari Daji. However, he decided to relocate to Delta state when security operatives killed their leader, Daji. He gathered all the arms within reach and fled to the Niger Delta state. Unfortunately for him, detectives who were on the trail of fleeing members of his gang traced him to a forest in Asaba, Delta State.
His confession and plea for mercy
Begging for mercy, Umaru told the police that he decided to go into crime when police arrested and sent him to prison.
“My father owns 30 cows and he was the person that taught me how to rear cattle. Part of our training is self defence, that includes learning how to use any type of weapon. Because we move around in the forest, anyone can attack us and if you are not ready, it will be very difficult to defend yourself and your cattle. So many of our people have died. At the age of 15 , my father gave me about 15 cows to manage and I decided to move them down to the east where the forest is safer. I was moving my cows to another grazing site along Ogwashi road when some policemen stopped me. They searched me and found my locally-made gun hidden on the body of one of the cows. I was arrested and charged to court. I pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years at Ogwashi prison. I am ready to go back to farming if they will give me another chance. Please, Nigerians should forgive me.”
On his 2014 escape from prison, Umaru said he decided to escape when he realized that he was to spend a long time in prison. “I was 17 when I was arrested by the police and did not know that I needed a lawyer to defend me. I pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years imprisonment with hard labour. When I got to the prison, my fellow inmates were laughing at me when they heard that I pleaded guilty. I saw that so many of them who were confirmed criminals were granted bail after few months.
“I was devastated and planned to escape. I discovered that convicted inmates were usually taken to the open field to farm or clear grass under strict supervision. I knew that was the only way that I can escape easily. All I did was to cooperate with my warder and he felt that I was of good behaviour. “I was still waiting for a good opportunity when my kinsman who knew that I was in prison visited me.
“He told me that my father was dead and my mother very sick. I was devastated and decided to travel. The next day, we were taken to a farm and I deliberately wore a plain shirt. As soon as I noticed that the warder was busy talking on phone, I ran away into the bush. They came after me but I climbed a tree and waited till they left.
I had only N200 with me , so I used it to board a bus that took me to Mariam Babaginda Road, Asaba. I found a trailer parked on that road, I greeted the driver and I told him that I needed to be in Sokoto urgently. I explained to him that I had just escaped from the prison. He accepted to take me down to Sokoto. When I got home I met my mother still very sick but they had buried my father.”
Back home, Umar claimed that he narrated his situation to his family members and they promised to protect him. “I told my family what happened to me and they pleaded with me not to leave Sokoto again. I spent five months in my village doing nothing and I almost became a beggar. I was still planning to return to Delta to collect my cattle when my closest friend told me that Buhari Daji was recruiting boys that will work for him.
“Every cattle rearer knows how to handle gun for security reasons. Buhari Daji accepted and gave me one AK47. We worked for him for months till he was killed. All of us scattered and I ran back to Delta with the hope that the prison people were not looking for me again.
“I lost all my cattle in Delta so it was difficult to survive legitimately. I had no choice but to link up with my friend who is a robber, his name is Baba. We started breaking into shops at night and petrol station located in remote areas. We knew the bush very well, so after each attack we will stay in the bush till the matter dies down. I was shocked when policemen entered the bush and arrested me. I’m suspecting that one of the boys envious of our achievements alerted the police.”