From NGOZI UWUJARE
FORTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD Richard Macaulay Obafemi, will have a long time to rue over the day his life took a wrong turn that led him into armed robbery and car-snatching as has been alleged by the police.
Until he descended into the new career, Obafemi was a medical doctor, who according to his account, had his primary and secondary school education at Ipaja, Lagos State before proceeding to the University College London, UCL, where he obtained a degree in Microbiology in 1987 and later studied medicine at UCL, from 1987-1992. In 1993, he did the housemanship in Hatsfield, London. In 1996, Obafemi came to Nigeria for the National Youth Service Corps Scheme and was posted to Kwara State. At the end of the service year, Obafemi took up appointment with the College of Medicine, University of Benin, where he worked for two years from 1998 to 2000, before travelling to Saudi Arabia.
“I worked at the Royal Medical Centre, Jeddah, for four years. Subsequently, I got another employment offer from the University of Ghana, in 2006 and worked there till 2015.”
Continuing the tale, Obafemi who hails from Sagamu Local Government Area, Ogun State said: “In 2015, I came to Nigeria and visited Kaduna State. During that trip, a car I was driving had an accident and the victim died. I was charged to court and remanded at Kaduna Central Prison. But I was later released from prison on April 8, 2016.
While in prison, Obafemi met and developed friendship with Stephen and Ifeanyi, who were also awaiting trial. After he was released, Obafemi linked up with Stephen and Ifeanyi who had also regained freedom. Within a short time, they convinced him to join their armed robbery and car-snatching gang.
“After I left prison, I had followed Ifeanyi to Asaba and joined their gang, which specialized in snatching cars. We have stolen cars like Lexus, SUV in Lagos State, which I drove to Katsina State to sell to buyers from Niger Republic. I sold one for N450,000,” Obafemi said.
Prodded on why he did not return to Ghana after being released from prison, Obafemi told Sunday Sun reporter: “I didn’t go back to University of Ghana because when I was in prison in Kaduna, I didn’t communicate with them.
“When I came out from prison, I found out that there was no going back. I decided to join the armed robbery gang to earn a living. I am married and blessed with three children. I lost my wife, Mary in 2012 while my three children are in Canada.”
A popular Nigerian parlance says, “many days for the thief, one day for the owner of the house.” Again, the Good Book teaches that when the cup of iniquity fills up, it spills over. For Obafemi and his alleged comrades in crime, the day of reckoning arrived when an alleged member of the gang, Valentine (surname withheld) was arrested in Onitsha by operatives of the Special Armed Robbery Squad of the Anambra Police Command and he spilled the beans, revealing the involvement of Obafemi in their activities who was at the time in a hotel (name withheld) in Onitsha, and explained that he had been there for four days waiting for the gang to bring cars he was to drive to Katsina and onwards to Niger Republic.
Armed with this information, Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hosea Karma told Sunday Sun reporter that SARS operatives stormed the hotel on May 17, 2016 and arrested Obafemi. The head of SARS, Supol Ben Abang further informed Sunday Sun that the gang had for long been a terror to owners of SUVs, noting that the gang operated mainly along the Awka-Enugu Expressway.
After a series of successful car-snatching escapades, members of the gang would disappear from the town and go to Lagos to cool off, while waiting for the stolen cars to be sold before returning for more operations. It was during the last operation of the gang that Valentine was arrested.
When he spoke with Sunday Sun, Valentine confessed that the gang had been involved in several robbery operations in Asaba, Delta State and Anambra State. On what awaits