Suspected robbers who invaded Mambilliah Hotel in Ikorodu area of Lagos on May 11, 2022, have given details on how they successfully invaded the hotel and several others, robbing guests of their valuables.
The suspects identified as Quadiri Balogun, Ahmed Oke, John Toluwalshe, Azeez Akinpelu were rounded up by operatives of the Lagos Police Command Special Squad, weeks after the incident that led to the death of the hotel security guard.
On their arrest, Saturday Sun police sources at the command stated that as soon as the State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi assigned the investigation to the command’s Special Squad, the operatives were able to track down and arrest four of the suspects who participated in the act.
“We tracked the phone of one of the victims to a joint at Agege. Unknown to the operatives, majority of the robbers who participated were among those sitting at the joint. As soon as they realised that the new faces among them were policemen, they shot at them. But the operatives were able to overpower them and everyone at the scene was arrested. It was in the course of interrogation that they realised that four persons who participated in the Mambillah Hotel attack were among them. The operatives were able to confirm their participation through the CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) footage,” the police source stated.
Confirming their arrest, the state police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin, a Superintendent of Police stated that the suspects were traced to their hideout at Oju-Irin Abattoir, Lagos State where they were eventually arrested. Items recovered from the suspects were two locally made guns with 11 live cartridges.
Recounting how the Mambillah Hotel was successfully raided, Quadiri, a native of Epe in Lagos State told Saturday Sun that the leader of their gang Taye brought the idea. “I am a barber at Agege and normally we gather to discuss how to make extra money. As a gang, everyone was advised to learn a skill so that whenever the police arrest us, we can defend our source of living. Sometimes we will attack motorists at night during heavy traffic or even houses.
“Sometime in early May this year, Taye called to inform me that we had a job at a hotel in Ikorodu. I joined him to survey the hotel by spending two nights there. It was then that we discovered the best time to attack. We also discovered that so many fraudsters known as Yahoo-Yahoo guys were lodging in that hotel. We also observed that we could successfully raid the hotel before the police can get to the place.
“So, on May 11, about eight of us with two AK47 invaded the hotel at about 12am. We just used our legs to break the door after Taye had killed the security man. We entered almost all the rooms and robbed the guests of their valuables. We were able to get the car keys to two cars in the compound that we used to drive ourselves to the abattoir in Agege.
“After selling the phones, cars and other valuables, my share was N200,000. It did not take us up to 24 hours to sell everything and collect cash. We have ready buyers who collect sim cards from us. Another set will buy the phones, jewellery, cars at the abattoir area. They always have ready cash for anything that is sellable,” he narrated.
The second suspect, Ahmed Oke, a native of Ogun State said that his share from the booty was also N200, 000. He said: “I am also a member of the gang at abattoir and Quadiri informed me of the job. It is not our first time so everyone knows what to do whenever we have an operation. One of us was asked to stay outside and watch out for policemen or the local security men. I broke into three rooms and the agreement was that everyone will submit everything that you picked. It was after selling everything, including cars, that Taye decided to give me N200,000 as my share.
“Few days after the Mambillah, we went to Loveday Hotel, also in Ikorodu and robbed them. It was also very easy because of the location of the hotel. These two hotels do not have mobile policemen and even if they had one, we would have still accessed the place because we normally go with plenty arms including an AK47. After selling all that we got from Loveday Hotel, I was given N100,000 because what we got there was not much.”
The third suspect, John, 20, who claimed that he was not part of the hotel raid admitted that he had participated in other raids especially breaking into residential houses in Ayobo, Igando, Isheri- Idimu and Ikotun areas in Lagos. “I am from Oyo State and I came to Lagos when I was 18. We are all part of a big gang at abattoir, Agege; I was supposed to be part of the team that robbed the hotel but I travelled to Oyo to see my parents. They got so many big phones especially iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. They gave me one of the phones which I sold to one guy that led to my arrest,” he stated.
On why he left home at the age of 18, John said that his parents were too poor to feed them. He said: “My parents are alive but they can barely feed us, so I decided to come to Lagos and hustle. Since I do not know anyone in Lagos, I joined street boys living at Agege to sleep in the open. The rule is that you must be part of their activities if you want to be alive. I have been sending money to my parents; that is why they are not worried or looking for me.”
Azeez, the only married man among them, said that he is a printer and whenever he stays away from home, his wife will assume that they have an overnight contract. “I am 24 and married with a child. Nigeria is hard and to pay house rent and take care of my wife is very difficult. I decided to make more money after I was introduced to Taye by a friend. His wife did naming ceremony for his son and I was the one who printed on all their souvenirs. I was invited to the event; it was there that I met most of the gang members. I have lost count of the number of robberies that I participated in. It is a way of life and the only way that we know how to survive. I promise to change if I survive this,” he pleaded.