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Lagos police arrest trailer, container hijackers

The suspects

The suspects

Suspected armed gang, which specialises in hijacking trailers and containers from the seaport are now in police net. The suspects, who have turned millionaires through their illicit business, are providing detectives of the Lagos State Police Command with information that would assist in stamping out syndicates in the nefarious deal.

The hit man of the gang, John Michael, who revealed their modus operandi, noted that members of their cartel wear military uniforms and are well armed with AK 47 rifles during operation.

Other suspects in the deadly gang are one visually impaired 61-year-old Monday Iroanya, and 27-year-old Charles Chinonso.
The operation that broke the camel’s back was the alleged hijacking of a trailer conveying 2,450 new tyres belonging to one Nze Obi Samuel, at NIMASA Bus Stop, Kirikiri, Lagos on February 21, with the help of a soldier identified as Peter, who is now at large.

The suspects, who were heading to Onitsha with their loot, were nabbed at Ogere, Ogun State after the trailer was involved in an accident.

Confessing to the crime, Chinonso, who said he was contacted by one Eze to help in offloading the tyres for sale at Onitsha, disclosed that he was promised N150,000 after a successful offloading.

“We all knew that the container was hijacked. We knew it was stolen. I was told and they were also told. My role was to assist in offloading it when it arrived Onitsha. I joined the trailer at Oshodi and I was promised N150,000.”

Another suspect, Michael, said he was contacted by Peter to get someone who produces fake waybill so that the goods would be moved to Onitsha with ease.

“I am a professional in the business. I contacted Monday, a blind transporter, who has a fake waybill. I asked him to bring it on the condition that he would be paid N100,000. Monday and I entered the trailer at Shagamu and we were arrested at Ogere,” he said.

Iroanya, who said he was desperately in need of money for his eye surgery, said Michael was the one who held him by his hand and took him to Shagamu.

“Every transporter at Wharf has waybill because we use it to do our deals. I have been doing it since 2005. It is not true that I was arrested for hijacking trailer; I did not join them in hijacking the trailer. I became blind in 2012 and since then I have been home until John Michael called me on phone to ask for a fake waybill. It was the N100,000 they promised me that attracted me because I needed money to do my eye surgery. I never knew it was stolen,” he claimed.

Similarly, the driver, Francis Onoja, said he was offered N15,000 to drive the truck to Onitsha. “I am a truck driver and I stay at Wharf. We usually go there to hustle for customers who usually contract us to drive their containers.

“On that day, my friend, Uche told me that he has a job from a soldier man (Peter). He said he had given my number to the soldier man and that he would contact me. The man later called me and asked me to meet him by the bridge, near Berger Suya.

“When I got there, I saw the trailer and somebody was inside, who he said was the conductor. He gave me the key and gave me N10,000 out of the N15,000 agreed on for me to take the trailer to Onitsha. He also told me that I would pick someone at Oshodi and also pick the owner of the trailer and his friend at Shagamu.

“So, we left and did as he instructed. But when we got to Ogere, the trailer had an accident and the tarpaulin tore. The tyres started falling and so we parked there to solve the problem. By the time we finished it was late and we could not continue. At about 11.30p.m., police came and arrested us. The conductor escaped. It is not true that I am an armed robber. I have never stolen anything before,” he said.

Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation was concluded.



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