Wednesday, 1 January 2020

How We Planned Abuja Robbery..First Bank Staff Confesses

L-R: 19-yr-old suspect, Elijah David; Timothy Joe; Princewill Obinna and Larry Ehizo, a staff of the bank.

Three of the four suspects arrested over the attempted robbery of a bank in Mpape area of Abuja on Saturday, have narrated how they planned the robbery that shocked the nation. The suspects, one of them a staff of the bank, had rattled the nation when they launched a daylight attack, which was foiled by the police and soldiers, on a branch of First Bank Nigeria branch in Mpape, a suburb of the capital city.

One of the suspects was shot by the police during the operation while 19-year-old Elijah David; Princewill Obinna, 24; Timothy Joe, 21; and a staff of the bank, Larry Ehizo, 30, were arrested. The policeman on duty, who it was gathered the robbers had unsuccessfully tried to tie down, had gunned down one of them and then called for back up.

Narrating how the robbery was planned, Ehizo said one Ernest (who he claimed to be the brain behind the robbery), a customer of the bank and barman at a beer parlour in Mpape met him “with threats based on a discussion we had sometime in November, which he said he recorded and was going to use against me”, adding that he “did everything out of fear of dying”.

The discussion, he said, was that banks’ services were not satisfactory and that they (banks) needed to be ‘touched’. A customer service officer of the bank for the past two years, Ehizo said the role he played was that he took the other suspects into the bank and that he was going to get 20% of whatever was recovered. “Ernest said I should show them where the CCTV cameras were and where the officer on duty that day would be.

He even came along that day in a different car and stayed across the bank,” the 2014 graduate of political science from the University of Abuja said. On his part, Obinna said he had military training for about six months when he went for recruitment in the Nigerian Army in 2017 but just a few weeks to their passing out parade, he was dismissed for medical reasons. He added that his involvement and the entire planning he took part in was just between December 24 and 27, a day before the crime was committed.

He said he was convinced to join the attack because they were told it was going to be an easy job and that they would be paid N7 million. “Ernest called me on December 24 and said he was going to link us with his person (Larry). So, I went to Mr. Larry and he told me there was a deal going on that he wants us to take up and that it would not last more than 15 minutes.

“He said their bank didn’t operate on Saturdays but if we can come around, he will help us to get the money, and that he and Ernest have work out things. He (Larry) asked me to organise some people to help out and I called my friends,” Obinna said. He added that when they met on December 26, they perfected the plans and a day before the robbery, Patrick (the suspect that was killed) brought the guns. The 19-year-old suspect said he went outside to untie the other bank staff with the fear that the teargas shot into the bank could kill them and that he apologised to the “madam (the other bank staff) and she told me not to worry”.

He said when they were arrested, they were asked who planned the robbery and that Larry pointed at an “innocent man but I said no, it was him (Larry).” The Commissioner of Police in the FCT, Bala Ciroma, who paraded the suspects along with several others arrested for various crimes yesterday, said four locally made pistols, one Peugeot 206, two cutlasses, two daggers, an axe, a plier, a mobile phone and a saw blade were recovered from the suspects. He said effort has being intensified to arrest other members of the gang who are at large.


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