Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command, over the weekend, arrested one Jamiu Bello, 26, who specializes in motorcycle theft, popularly known as ‘okada’ in virtually all the states in the South West.
The suspect was arrested by the RRS operatives while trying to steal a motorcycle with the registration number, KTU 388 QG, belonging to Israel Ikyav, a commercial rider at Ijora Olopa, Lagos.
According to the victim, “I parked my okada beside a canteen around Ijora. As I entered the canteen to eat, I noticed people outside were chasing one guy…. One of my colleagues rushed inside the canteen to call me that my okada had been stolen by one guy. I left the full plate of food I ordered for and joined them in chasing him…. if not for RRS operatives’ riders, the suspect would have made away with my bike. We knew that we could not catch up with him because he was far ahead of us with the bike already…. I quickly alerted the RRS riders, who were patrolling the area about the incident. And, immediately, they chased the suspect with their bikes…. After so much effort, they double – crossed him with their bikes…. at this point, the thief abandoned the bike and he tried to escape on foot and then with another motor cyclist before he was arrested.”
The suspect, a father of three children, gave account on how he has been stealing bikes in states across the South-West: “I started this crime about two years ago. There were two of us and we operated in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo States…. my accomplice whose name is Ibijuwon is currently serving a jail term in Kirikiri Prison…. The day we went for an operation where he was arrested, it was around Lagos Island, I managed to escape with a stolen bike while he was arrested and subsequently taken to the court where he was eventually sentenced to jail.”
He further explained, “on this fateful day, I left Epe to Yaba area. On getting to Yaba, I looked around to know how to start the day’s job there but I couldn’t find any motorcycle to steal around the area…. Then, I decided to move to Ijora-Olopa with the hope of stealing any bike on sight. I contracted a commercial motorcycle from Yaba to Ijora…. at Ijora, I saw this man (his victim) when he parked his bike outside and entered the canteen. I noticed that he had locked its steering. So, I quickly asked the rider who took me from Yaba that I wanted to alight to see my brother briefly in that area, unknown to him that I had a sinister motive”.
The suspect added “I moved closer to the bike and broke its locked steering. Then I mounted it and zoomed off…. Meanwhile, I had abandoned the commercial rider who brought me to the area. When I was on the bike, I thought I had escaped. Suddenly, I saw two RRS motorcycles pursuing me. I sped off but I was so unlucky they caught up with me despite the fact that I over sped…. I attempted to escape by joining another motorcyclist, yet I was caught again, that was how I gave up.”
While confessing to the crime at the RRS’s Headquarters, the suspect revealed that his two receivers of stolen motorcycles are based in Lagos. He explained, “I have stolen no fewer than 20 motorcycles across South West. If I go to other states apart from Lagos to operate, I will ride the bike down to Lagos to sell here…. I have two receivers of these stolen bikes. One of them lives at Alamutu in Mushin while the other is in Ijora…. I sold one motorcycle for N40,000 depending on how clean they looked.”
The suspect whose body was filled with scars noted that they were as a result of the injuries from his past criminal activities. “All these scars on my body were healed injuries inflicted on me by mob actions anytime I was caught stealing motorcycles. I am just an unrepentant thief because I was supposed to have changed my way of life,” he said.
The State’s Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Police, SP Dolapo Badmus, who confirmed the incidence, said that efforts are ongoing to arrest the receivers of the stolen motorcycles. She said that the suspect will be charged to court upon completion of the investigation.