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Ex-Convict Turned To Armed Robbery Amid Societal Rejection, Hunger

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Ex-Convict Turned To Armed Robbery Amid Societal Rejection, Hunger

Olumide, who initially escaped, was arrested on Sunday, August 20, 2023

Faleye Olumide, an ex-convict who was arrested in Oyo State, has stated that he became involved with an armed robbery gang as a result of the stigma, neglect, and hunger he experienced after being released from prison.

Three of his gang members, Lateef Balogun, Saheed Bamidele and Abiodun Wasiu, were recently paraded by Oyo State Police Command at a press briefing

Olumide, who initially escaped, was arrested on Sunday, August 20, 2023.

Addressing the press, Oyo State’s Commissioner of Police, CP Adebola Ayinde Hamzat, revealed that on June 27 around 2am, an armed gang wielding firearms, cutlasses, and other dangerous weapons raided the home of Raji Rasaki in the Ayegunle area of Ibadan, launching an attack on the victim.

According to the CP, the suspects robbed the victim of his Honda Pilot SUV valued at about N8 million, a Toyota Camry car, mobile phones, huge sum of money and other valuable items at gunpoint.

In the course of escaping with the vehicles, the Toyota Camry reportedly developed a fault, causing them to abandon it while they went away with the Honda Pilot.

After reporting the case at Sanyo Division, the police got the abandoned car back to its owner, while the case was transferred to the command’s Monitoring Unit, led by CSP Olusola Aremu.

“Upon receipt of the case file, a team of operatives attached to the Command’s Monitoring Unit immediately swung into action, and after a discreet investigation, three members of the criminal gang who later gave their names as Saheed Bamidele, Wasiu Abiodun and Lateef Taofeek Balogun were arrested in connection with the crime,” CP Hamzat stated.

Recovered from them were two locally-made guns with eight live cartridges. According to the police boss, when interrogated, the suspects confessed to the crime and others they had perpetrated at different locations within Ibadan city

In an interview with journalists, Olumide, an Ibadan indigene, aged 38, said that he was a welder before he was imprisoned for attempted murder when he stabbed a man with a stick while they were fighting.
“I became part of an armed robbery gang this year. I was once arrested and remanded in prison for an attempted murder charge when I stabbed someone with a stick, but it was later changed to fighting. I spent nine months before I was granted bail,” he said.

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“When I came out of prison, I had nowhere to turn to. The only person I had was my mother but she died while the case was ongoing. My siblings sold the family property left by my mother. I started wandering about, with nowhere to lay my head on.

“In the course, former prison inmates called and told me about Saheed. His phone number was sent to me from prison and we communicated. We later met and he told me about organising robbery operation. I agreed with him because of the need to survive. I didn’t want to go begging friends before I could eat. That was how we started the operation with Wasiu and others.

“Somebody whom Balogun met in prison gave my number to him, asking him to call me. That was how we came together. We were unsuccessful the first time we tried to snatch a car,”

Saying that the move to go into crime was not beneficial to him, Olumide added that he also didn’t benefit from the Honda Pilot his gang snatched from its owner during second operation.

“I didn’t know who the vehicle was given to. It was Saheed who took it to a buyer. I didn’t gain even N5,” he disclosed.

Appealing for leniency, the suspect, who promised to abstain from crime, enjoined the federal government to make solid plan for those regaining freedom from prison.

“After spending months, years in prison, it is not good for a prison inmate to be released into the society without anything to survive on, at least temporarily. This is what makes a lot of them go back to crime,” he said.

Balogun, aged 30 and popularly Called Balo, also said that he was linked with the gang by an ex-fellow prison inmate.

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“I was a truck driver. I am from Abeokuta. I travelled and was in Ilesa axis when a driver rammed a commercial bus into the back of truck I was driving and got stuck. Three of them died. I was detained and later charged to court. That was how I landed in prison. I spent 13 months. The company I was working for abandoned me, saying drivers had been warned not to drive at night,” he said.

“When I regained my freedom, I applied for the job of a truck driver in many companies but was not successful. My sister who borrowed from a microfinance bank to perfect my release from jail was being troubled to pay back the loan. That was what pushed me into rejoining crime.
“I got to know Olumide through one Lateef. I got close to Olumide and he told me he was into robbery. I initially rejected but when I was hungry and didn’t know what to do survive, I decided to join the gang.

“I got N35,000 the first time, but the buyer played smart and didn’t pay for the second vehicle we gave him. He ignored our calls until we met in police cell and knew that he had also been arrested. The Honda Pilot we gave him was recovered by the police.”

On his part, Wasiu, an Ibadan indigene aged 24, said he started as a vulcaniser.

“When things became tough, I started picking scrap metals and aluminium for sale. I stole some items and was arrested. I was arraigned in court and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment in Ogbomoso. That was six years ago. I regained freedom in 2018,”

“I went to Lagos but survival was tough. I came back to Ibadan where I met Olumide. I saw that he was looking good and I asked about the secret to his looking good. He confessed me to me on his car snatching operations and I happily told him that I would join him. In April this year, he invited me for a robbery operation. What we were doing was to lay an ambush for each victim while coming out of their residences

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“We would get the victim to surrender the key of his vehicle. We would also go inside the house and collect phones and cash before escaping. We usually went with two guns, one of which I would hold while Olumide would carry the other.

“The first time I followed him, we couldn’t get the vehicle but we picked phones. The second time, we took Honda Pilot from the victim’s house. I didn›t know how Olumide sold it and had yet to get any money when I was arrested. I was given a phone that I sold for N40,000. I joined because I had no choice.”

Saheed, who hailed from Modakeke, Osun State, said that he got engaged in armed robbery through his brother. He spoke on how he was first arrested and imprisoned when he was met in the room of his brother who was a suspect, unknown to him at that time.

“I was living with my brother in Ibadan when police operatives burst into our room and arrested me. They asked of my brother and I told them he was not around. I was charged to court and remanded in prison in 2019 for about eight months. I regained freedom in 2020 as there was no complainant. During the period, my brother used to visit me in prison and take care of me.

“After regaining my freedom, I still went to my brother. By then, he had relocated to another area. One particular day, he asked me to take a bag to his friend. I didn’t know what was in it, but later discovered it was a gun the second time. I told him what I found and he opened up to me that he was an armed robber.

“At another time, I took the bag and followed him in to an operation but it was not successful. The following week, we were able to snatch Honda Pilot and my brother gave me N15,000 from the phones he sold.”


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