“I promise to become a pastor if pardoned” – Notorious robbery suspect begs

Detectives attached to the Abia State Police Command have arrested a 23-year-old man for allegedly robbing a filling station in the state, NewTelegraph reported.

He begged that he will become a pastor if he is forgiven. The suspect identified as Eziaha Joshua, from Ukwa West Local Government Area, confessed that he and his gang members attacked and robbed the filling station located at Obehie in Ukwa West Local Government Area, carting away N86,000, which was realised from the day’s sales.

Joshua, who introduced himself as the gang leader, said that he got N35,000 as his share of the loot. He explained that the motorcyclist, who took them to the scene of the crime, smiled home with N18,000. He noted that the third suspect, who is still on the run, got N27,000.

Narrating how he and his gang members carried out the robbery operation, Joshua explained that his friend, Onyempa, sold the idea of robbing the filling station to him and he bought it.

He said:
    “Onyempa told me that he had a short gun and a knife, which he and others used in disarming people going to their offices in the morning before robbing them of their valuables. Onyempa asked me to arrange for a motorcyclist, who would take us to the filling station. I contacted a commercial motorcyclist, who I had known for long. I told the cyclist about the operation and he agreed to join. I then rehearsed the operation with him.”

On the fateful day of the operation, the gang got to the filling station about 7.30 p.m. This was the time given to them to arrive at the scene by Onyempa.

Onyempa also told them that he wouldn’t join them at the filling station because the manager and some of the attendants knew him.

The plan was for Onyempa to wait at the point where the motorbike was parked among flower hedge until after the operation. It was a successful operation.

The gang robbed the filling station and disappeared into the darkness. However, luck ran out on them when the manager reported the matter to the police. The manager also remembered the type of perfume one of the armed robbers sprayed on the day the gang stormed the filling station.

It was the perfume that exposed Joshua and led to his eventual arrest.

A police source said:
    “The suspect lives in that community. He also used to work as a tiller in that community. The perfume was not a common one. One day, the suspect and the manager walked past each other. The manager smelt the perfume fragrance on Joshua and started suspecting him. He reported to the police. The rest, as they used to say, is history. We followed up on the manager’s complaint and observation. We picked Joshua, during interrogation, he confessed.”

While in police custody, Joshua told the police that the filling station robbery was not his first operation.

He said:
    “I regret my action. I promise to repent and enrol in a Bible school and become a pastor if I’m pardoned. Before I started robbing, I was a tiller. I also play music at events.”

The cyclist, who gave his name as Chibuike, said he was a software engineer, but got involved in robbery because it sounded attractive. He, however, confessed that he actually did the operation, but added that it was a mistake.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade, said that the gang was arrested on June 13, following a tip-off. The police boss said that the gang robbed the filling station on May 19.

He said:
    “They were arrested by operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) attached to Obehie Police Station. This was as a result of the follow up to the arrest of Joshua and a member of the three-man gang. The two suspects, who are members of a three-man gang, confessed to have robbed Ezeudu Chinasa of Benvick Filling Station, of her Intel phone valued N180,000, a wristwatch and a bag containing a Holy Bible.”

Oyebade added that the gang members were armed with a locally-made pistol, kitchen knife and rode on a motorcycle. He said the Intel phone had been recovered, while policemen are already on the trail of the third suspect.

Oyebade urged members of the public to assist police with information, in order to reduce crime in the state. This was even as he promised Nigerians who assist police with information of absolute confidentiality.

According to Oyebade, in keeping with the avowed commitment to a crime-free state, the police in the state was collaborating with banks and private school proprietors.

The commissioner observed that with the recent arrest of suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwumeme Onwuamadike aka Evans, kidnapping would no longer be attractive. He noted that the command would follow the recent achievement of the police, with proactive policing in Abia State.

He added:
“We will continue to do our best and with the collaboration of sister security agencies in the state. We will intensify land patrol and air/helicopter surveillance.”

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