A 32-year-old herbalist, Rasheed Akinola, yesterday admitted preparing charms for an armed robbery gang that operates between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
Akinola also admitted helping the gang to take arms and ammunition from Benin Republic into Lagos through bush paths at Seme.
Luck ran against the herbalist when operatives of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Lagos State command, who were on the trail of some notorious bandits, tracked him down at the Mile 2 area of Lagos where he had gone to deliver one AK 47 rifle to a gang.
In his confessional statement, Akinola said, “I first met the leader of the armed robbery gang, Tobinju Potel, two years ago. He told me how his business crumbled and how he has been looking for ways of reviving it. At first I never knew him to be a robber. I prepared some charms for him that would help him in his business. After sometime he came back again to say he wanted me to treat one of his sisters who was ill. I cured her with some herbs.
“Months later he came back to say he wanted a charm that would make him invisible anytime he goes for an operation. It was then I got to know he was into crime. I made some charms for him against gunshots.
Later, he told me that I would be helping his gang to take arms from Benin Republic into Nigeria. I have helped him to convey so many guns.
“Potel always hid the guns in a black bag. He would hand over the bag to me with a specific instruction not to hand over the bag to anybody, except him. At the Seme border, there would be a motorcyclist waiting for me. After successfully crossing the bag containing the guns into Nigeria through the bush path, the bike man would take me to Mile 2 where I would wait for further instructions.
“In all, the gang paid me about 100,000 cefa, which is equivalent to N70,000, to make the charms for its members. On the day I was arrested, having consulted with my gods, I told them that trouble lay ahead but they did not listen. I appealed to them to defer the operation till another day but they refused. We were on our way back to Cotonou, Benin Republic with a stolen vehicle when we were arrested.”
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, who paraded Akinola, along with 12 other suspects, said the herbalist specialized in doing charms for hoodlums.
Edgal said that the suspect would soon be charged to court.