The Lagos State Police Command has arrested the four men who allegedly robbed Mr. Wilson Onazi, the father of Nigerian footballer, Ogenyi Onazi.
The suspects are Kingsley David, Ebuka Ugochukwu, Joseph Ozo and Ali Audu.
Our correspondent had reported that the suspects on Monday attacked the home of the Onazis at the Government Reserved Area, Jos, Plateau State.
They were reported to have carted away several items, including a white Toyota Highlander and an undisclosed amount of money.
They reportedly inflicted machete cuts on Pa Onazi, who was admitted in a hospital after the incident.
We gathered that after the robbery, the suspects moved to a bar in the community where they deliberated on what to do with the vehicle.
It was learnt that the four men took off for Lagos and lodged in Shibiri Hotel in the Ajangbadi area where they were arrested by policemen attached to the Ilemba Hausa Police Division after a tip-off.
A police source in the division told PUNCH Metro that the men were arrested around 7pm on Wednesday while they awaited a buyer for the vehicle.
He said, “We got a tip-off that some suspicious people had lodged in a hotel in the area. They had been bringing several people to inspect the vehicle at the hotel, but they did not get a buyer.”
The suspects, who were arrested along with one of the intending buyers of the car, Osita Eze, were paraded at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters on Thursday.
The leader of the gang, David, 24, a polytechnic graduate, said he lived close to the victim’s house and had monitored his movement, adding that they robbed him to celebrate Sallah.
He said, “We are all friends. We planned the robbery a week to the actual day. I live close to the man’s house and I sold the idea to my friends. Our intention was just to take his car for the Sallah break. I didn’t follow them into the house. I only pointed the place to them and they finished the job. It was after they were done that I joined them in the vehicle.”
Ugochukwu, 26, an indigene of Idemili, Anambra State, said the robbery was easy for them because only Pa Onazi was at home.
He said, “We discovered that the man is old and he lives alone in that big house. He does not stay with his wife or even house help. There was no security man guarding the house or any other form of security. We also robbed him because he does not help people.
“When we got to the house, we knocked the gate and pretended as if we wanted to deliver a letter to him from Lagos. While he was checking the letter, we brought out our cutlass. We just held him by the hand as he begged us not to harm him.
“We asked him to take us to his bedroom and he did. He said he didn’t have any money in the house, but we took his ATM card, which we couldn’t use because it had expired.
“He gave us N5,000. We also stole his vehicle. We didn’t touch him because of his advanced age; if we had touched him, he could have died.”
Ugochukwu blamed the incident on financial challenges, saying he had never robbed in his life.
The third suspect, 24-year-old Ozo, who claimed to be a graduate of a university in Plateau State, said the gang wanted money to celebrate Sallah, adding that he drove the vehicle to Lagos.
He said, “Kingsley (David) brought the idea. He said he knew Pa Onazi’s house, adding that we could rob him, take his vehicle and sell it in Lagos. They invited me because I can drive very well. I was promised a share of the money.
“We were not afraid because the car papers were complete. It was due to indecision between Kingsley (David) and Ebuka (Okechukwu) that delayed the sale.”
Another suspect, Audu, said his only role was to use the letter to distract the victim.
The intending receiver of the car, Eze, said he was introduced to the gang while relaxing in a bar, adding that they had yet to negotiate.
“After the meeting at the bar, I collected their contact and I went to meet them at the hotel where I met policemen,” he added.
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Fatai Owoseni, said the suspects would be handed over to the Plateau State Police Command, together with the exhibits recovered from them.
He said, “We are passing a strong message that wherever a crime is committed in Nigeria, we will hunt the culprits. There is no hiding place for criminals in this country.”