The Lagos State Police Command has disclosed the identities of the suspected killers of Adeniyi Sanni, a senior aide to Senator Solomon Adeola, who is the lawmaker representing Ogun West at the National Assembly.
The Commissioner of Police, CP Idowu Owohunwa, said on Monday that the suspects were a member of a transborder syndicate financed by one ‘Alhaji’ who is based in Benin Republic.
The arrested suspects, Fred Okuno, 43-year-old Lagosian, Lucky Michael, 33-year-old from Delta State, and Adedigba Segun, 26-year-old from Ibadan, Oyo state, according to the police, usually disguised as soldiers to deceive their targets.
Parading the suspects before journalists at the command headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos, Owohunwa said their arrest was made possible through a diligent investigation that was carried out by the police.
PUNCH Metro reports that Senator Adeola had claimed that suspected soldiers killed his aide in the early hours of August 5, 2023.
According to a statement by his Media Adviser, Kayode Odunaro, in August, the senator said he was of the firm belief, “based on available facts at the disposal of the police” that his aide was killed by “a syndicate of soldiers operating under the newly deployed Commander of 9 Brigade, Ikeja Cantonment of the Nigeria Army, Brigadier General A.M Adetuyi, through the mounting of checkpoints and robbing of lone occupants of cars.”
The army had since said it was investigating the matter.
But Owohunwa on Monday said, “Investigations so far revealed that this gang which is being armed and indeed financed by and set up by one Alhaji (name withheld) who is based in Benin Republic, specialises in robbing motorists of their unregistered vehicles. They target Tokunbo (fairly used imported vehicles) cars or brand-new unregistered cars. The gang has been successful in not less than five previous operations and their modules include stationing one gang member some metres from Berger Bus Stop to spot unregistered vehicles advancing or travelling on the road.”
He added the spotter would then call his gang members who were usually dressed in military uniform to inform them of the approaching targeted vehicle.
“The gang member in military uniform will come out to flag down the vehicle, and believing that the gang members are military men, the temptation to stop will be very high, if you stop, the first thing they do is ask for your vehicle papers to give credence to themselves and pretend that indeed they have a military background and were performing military functions,” Owohunwa said. He said this was the manner in which Sani was accosted.
He disclosed that the three suspects were ex-inmates at different prisons in the country.
“The three suspects are jailbirds who have served prison terms over the last 10 years. Okuno for example was between 2010 and 2015 arrested for drug-related crimes and spent some time in jail until he was released six years later. He came out and became even more hardened and by 2021, he was again arrested for armed robbery. In 2015 to 2018, he was sent to prison for armed robbery. He served his terms at Kikiri Maximum Prison,” the CP said.
According to the CP, one of the suspects, Lucky, who disguised as the military man when Sani was stopped, was also in Kikri prison between 2019 to 2022. He said the third suspect also served prison terms at Agodi and Kirikiri correctional centres.
The CP noted that the three suspects were united by their prison experiences as they met and resolved to form the gang and were also members of the syndicate run by ‘Alhaji’.
The CP lamented that prisons were still breeding grounds for criminals.