Operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command have arrested a 19-year-old suspected traffic robber, Qudus Wasiu who confessed to have lost count on the number of victims he had unleashed terror on in the state.
Wasiu who is a native of Kwara state and lives at number 26 Okoya Street in Ajegunle area of Lagos was nabbed by the operatives while he was attempting to snatch a bag at gun point. His partner, one Toheeb was said to have fled the scene as soon as he noticed that armed policemen were approaching.
Attraction to crime
Begging for a second chance to become a better person, Wasiu told Saturday Sun that he decided to tow the path of crime when he realized that the future of his siblings depends on him.
“I always wanted to go to school and become a lawyer but my parents are very poor and could not afford to pay for my fees. Although there is free education in Lagos state, they could not afford to buy books and uniform for me. I had no choice but to drop out before my final year in secondary school.
“My father who retails sachet s of pure water encouraged me to go and learn carpentry and it was easy because my uncle was the one to train me. After spending three years with him, I got a job. I worked with one man in Ajegunle till he sacked me without paying me that month’s salary. This was sometime in January this year.
“I was so broke and then my family was expecting me to find money for our house rent. I was under pressure and told my friend, Toheeb my situation. He laughed and told me to stop wasting time working for anybody. He asked me to come to his house around 4pm that we would go and hustle for money. I never knew what it was about till I got to his house.
“At about 7pm, we took a bike to Mile 2 bridge and sat there, before I knew what was happening, he snatched two phones from occupants of one car and asked me to start running. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. We ended under the bridge and he told me that this was what he meant when he told me about hustle.
“He later sold both phones that night to one Razaq at the price of N20, 000 each. I was given N15, 000 as my own share. When I got home that night, I gave my mother N5000 to buy foodstuff in the house. She was so happy and prayed for me. I’m the first child of my parents and I have five other siblings. I was so happy when my mother prayed for me, that was why I decided to continue.
“The next time I came back with money she asked me where I got the money from and I told her that I got a job at Mushin where they construct furniture on a large scale. I told her that companies come to buy regularly and when they go they give us tips. I also lied that my monthly salary was N80, 000. She also believed that the reason why I normally come back late was because of the distance and traffic. My father did not care to investigate further if I was telling the truth. His concern is to tell my mum and my siblings to come to me if they needed money,” he narrated.
Recalling some of their exploits, Wasiu claimed that he had lost count. “Initially we were operating around Mile 2, till police started raiding that area constantly. We started going to Ijora area but we did not last there because there were so many of us and even if you snatch a bag or phone you might lose it to another thief. They will even insist that there are owners of the area who will collect about 50% of the money. Toheeb then suggested that we needed to do bigger job which means that we need a gun.
“He was the one who started renting guns from Ijora boys. They knew him there, so they trusted him with their guns. We started going to other places like Ajah, Oworonshoki, Berger. My own is to follow him and obey his instructions, he is the one that can handle guns very well but I will be the one to snatch the bag from our victims as soon Toheeb scares them with the gun.”
On what he had achieved so far, Wasiu said that money cannot be found in his account but he is proud that all his siblings are in school. “I don’t have much cash in my account because I spend it on my family. My brothers and sisters are in school and they wear good uniforms and buy books. I take care of my family and I know that now that police have arrested me, they will drop out of school again. I know that what I was doing was bad; I believe it was bad friends that landed me in trouble. It is while I was in the cell that the pastor that used to pray for us advised me that if I had continued with the carpentry work, I would have still made enough money to help my family. I am very sorry and I promise that I will change for better if the police will let me go home. I know that my mother will be disappointed in me that is why she has not come to visit me”, he stated.
On how he was arrested, Wasiu said that about two weeks ago, he was caught while trying to snatch the handbag of a woman along Orile Iganmu. “That very day we operated at Mile 2 area and snatched some phones and bags. We had gotten enough for the night when Toheeb said that we should try one more since there was traffic along that Orile Iganmu road. He gave me the gun to hold while he drove the okada (motorcycle). We never noticed that policemen were on patrol because they were in mufti. We saw a woman on foot and followed her. I pointed the gun at her and she screamed and kept dragging the bag with me. At that point policemen saw us and rushed to the scene. Before I could notice them, one of them had grabbed my trouser. Toheeb was fast enough and ran away. They caught me with the gun. I only used the gun to scare people; I have never killed in my life because it is evil. Toheeb rented this gun from Ijora. When the police went to his house, he had disappeared,” he stated.