A five-man armed robbery gang has told the police how it hijacked many petrol tankers in Lagos and sold each truck for N1.5 million.
The gang members, who operate in military uniforms, were recently arrested by police operatives from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Lagos Command.
A police source identified the suspects as Alex Ugboagu, Evans Boniface, Patrick Okoh, Izuchukwu Udeagwu, and Emmanuel Aniekan.
The source said the suspects are a five-man syndicate that specialise in robbing trucks, and that their first robbery operation was in August 2013.
In their confessional statements, the suspects admitted to hijacking about 10 trucks loaded with petroleum products in two years.
One of the suspects, Alex Ugboagu, said, “I am from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. I am 35 years old. I am married with one child. I live at Adekoya Street, Odogunyan, Ikorodu area in Lagos.
“I am a transporter. It was first the NUPENG taskforce that arrested us for fuel diversion before we were handed over to the police. It was a truck of PMS. I have confessed to the crime, and I also led them to the filling station where we sold the contents for N1.5 million, which is half of the normal price (N3 million).
“I collected N360,000. I used the money to pay for my house rent. I used the remaining for the upkeep of my family.
“When we divert any truck, we stay with the driver and the conductor. With the help of the fake soldier and navy officials in the gang, the Hilux van will overtake the truck and they will be flagged down. After selling the content, we would abandon the truck on an expressway where LASTMA officials would then tow it away,” he confessed.
The immediate past Lagos Police Public Relations officer (PPRO), who confirmed the arrest, disclosed that the suspects robbed a truck conveying 33,000 litres of PMS at gunpoint along Anthony Village.
He said the truck was diverted and taken to a filling station in Ikorodu where the content was sold for N1.5 million.
“Their second operation was in March 2014. They snatched the truck along Apapa road. They usually robbed using a Hilux van and a Ford Ranger jeep.
They also carried three AK-47 rifles. They sold the second truck also conveying PMS to a filling station in Ajah also for N1.5 million.
“Their third operation was at Iyana Oworo. The truck contained diesel. It was seized and sold to another filling station in Ikorodu. The fourth operation was a truck snatched at Toyota Bus Stop, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway on July 18.
“The truck was snatched while on its way to Sagamu. But the robbers stopped at Ketu Mile 12 area, when they suspected they were being trailed by the police, they abandoned the truck and escaped.
“Their fifth operation was on July 21 at Iyana Isashi. The truck contained PMS too, and while on their way to Sango Otta to dispose it, they were arrested by the police,” he added.
He explained that the gang’s operational vehicle as well as the military and Navy uniforms the members used were recovered from them.