Step by step, that is how everything go both good and bad, at least progress has to be made.
For one Ugochukwu Felix Nebuwe who got arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Lagos state police command, his was also some kind of progress, but not a good one.
The suspect confessed that after narrowly escaped being lynched together with his other members of pickpocket business gang, he decided to change from that to a full armed robbery.
Nebuwe and three of other members of his gang who are now at large, were said to have gone to a night club at Tin Can, Apapa area of Lagos state, and as they were returning home the following day, saw a man trying to start his car, whom they rushed and forcibly took his car key and drove off.
By the time they got to Mile 2 area of Lagos, information has gone to the police who quickly mobilized and gave them a hot chase which made them to abandon the car and took to their heels, but unfortunately for Nebuwe, he ran in a different direction and some boys in the area caught him and handed him over to the police after beating him mercilessly.
While speaking to the newsmen, Nebuwe said he is from Mgbidi village in Imo state and traded in Refrigerators and electronics at Alaba International Market before retiring to robbery.
He added: “I used to stay with my parents at Igando (Lagos). My father retired as a chief driver at Futuro Construction Company. I stopped my secondary school education at Senior Secondary School two, because I was too stubborn. I did not use to listen when they told me to stop fighting with people.
“May be it is somebody that is doing this to me. I stopped schooling at SS 2 because of my stubbornness. I used to be too aggressive and when elders told me to stop fighting each time I had a little misunderstanding with people, I would not heed their advice.
“It is a spiritual problem caused by somebody to undo my family because at times, after participating in armed robbery operation, I would begin to regret. Another thing that would show you that the hand of an enemy is in what is making me to behave like this is that if I want to sleep, I sleep in a tokunbo (fairly used) vehicle displayed for sale. The owner does not see me because before day break, I would go out, have my bath and go to the market to hustle.”
Asked how he became a guest of the police, he said: “I started as a pickpocket. We used to be two or three doing it at clubs, bus stops, market places and even stadium. That was around 2004. My pickpocket counterparts were mostly Igbo and Edo boys. Some of them are dead while some are in prisons or police cells. Some of them died during police raids.
“At Tin Can side of Ajegunle, I met a gang of ‘one chance’ robbers at a place we used to smoke. They were Obi, Stephen, Lukman and Okey. There is also one we call Ochari, a very short boy but very wicked. He was the one that usually pushed out victims from the moving vehicle.
“They used to cheat me and would not give me raw cash when we were sharing our loot. They would tell me to wait until I mastered the work. They used to give me phones. Some of the members like Okey and Lukman, are dead now. As for the rest, I don’t know whether they are dead or in prison.
“Every morning, they would call me to join them. We would call passengers like other commercial buses, but when we had got enough passengers, we would rob them and go home.
“Our routes include Iyana-Iba, Mile 2, Tin Can and Mile 12. I used to sell the phones for N2,000 each, no matter the make or quality, because I didn’t want them to remain with me to avoid being tracked down through them. The moment I got the phones, I would remove the SIM cards and throw them on the main road.
“I later left the gang when the police started tracking them down. Even some of them were arrested and charged to court. But after some months, I was down financially. The only option left for me to survive was to join a robbery gang.
“I went back to the club because armed robbers liked to go there. There I met one Azubuike and another boy called Ijebu and IK. There was also a boy they called Afo. They told me that my suffering had ended and very soon I would get enough money to help myself.
“On that fateful day, I did not know that they had already planned to rob on the way. As we left the club in the morning, I thought that they would drop me at Mile 2. We were all inside our operational Danfo bus. Immediately they saw a man washing his car in front of his house, which had no gate, they stopped, rushed towards the man and pointed a gun at him.
‘’The man shouted and area boys came out in great number and pursued us. They abandoned the car and ran away in the Danfo bus. I could not meet up with them hence they escaped and left me behind.
“When the area boys saw me, they said I was one of them and started beating me. They would have left me when I tried to tell them that I was not one of them. But they got to the car they abandoned and discovered that one of the gang members had left his gun. They became annoyed and started pounding me. They later took me to Tolu Police Station.”