A customer care officer of First Bank Plc, which was attacked by armed robbers last Saturday, Larry Ehizo, has stated that he began planning how to carry out the operation in October 2019.
Ehizo, who recanted his earlier claim that a barman, Ernest Ewim, blackmailed him into carrying out the attempted heist, said he started nursing the idea having monitored the security system and the processes in the bank.
The customer care officer said, “Everything Ewim said is true; he didn’t threaten me. I willingly collected his number and I called him and he said I should give him a few days.
“When I called him, I simply told him how they would go in, where they would see the riot policeman guarding the bank and how to disconnect the CCTV. On Friday night during our meeting, we had issues with getting a driver.”
When asked the motive for the crime, Ehizo simply stated, “I was just greedy; I thought it was something simple that I could just pull off. I had taken the time to study everything; I started thinking about it since October.
“Maybe, because I work inside, I felt I could take the money. So, I gradually mapped out where the CCTV is, where the police officer stays, his movement, how people are stationed over the weekend and how the ATM functions over the weekend. I took the time to map it out for over a month.”
The Federal Capital Territory Police Command had arrested the sixth member of the gang, Ewim, at his hideout on Wednesday.
Wearing dreadlocks and dressed in a light blue denim jacket and matching blue jeans, the suspect sustained injuries in his legs.
Blood oozed out of his right ear as he spoke to PUNCH Metro in Abuja on Thursday.
The police had earlier gunned down a member of the gang, identified as Patrick, and arrested four others during the failed operation.
The FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, had on Tuesday paraded four gang members including Ehizo, 30, as well as Timothy Joe, 21; Princewill Obinna, 24; and Elijah David, 19.
Ewim, who doubles as a barman and disc jockey at the Ever Ready Hotel, Mpape, explained that he organized the gang that carried out the foiled heist at Ehizo’s request.
Narrating how he became involved in the attempted robbery, the 29-year-old said he met Ehizo at the customer care desk of the bank when he was having issues with his account.
He explained that after addressing his complaints, the bank official took his phone number and called him two days later, promising to give him a job.
Ewim stated, “After two days, I received a call from Ehizo, who identified himself and said he had a job for me. Two days later, he called back and said he would like to see me.
“He said he wanted to attack the bank branches in Mpape and Mararaba. I said I was not a robber. He asked if I could provide boys for him, so I told Obinna, a photographer, about it because I learnt that he was very stubborn and could fight.”
Ewim added that they met again on the eve of the robbery and discussed the strategy for the operation.
He added, “On Saturday, when they were going for the robbery, Ehizo called and asked if I knew how to drive, but I said no. He asked me to get a driver for him, so I introduced him to a motorcyclist, who can also drive.
“I told the motorcyclist to wait for me opposite the bank. Ehizo said he would like to discuss with the motorcyclist, so I gave the phone to him and they discussed.”
Asked if he informed security agencies about the planned robbery, Ewim said he did not, adding that he did not have the time to do so, because he was always at work.
He stated, “On the day of the robbery, I was sick. I left my hotel for the clinic around 3am. After the conversation with Ehizo that he needed a driver, I went to work. I didn’t know that they were going to rob the bank that day.
“I saw the video of the robbery, and people were calling me about it. Even, my brother called me about it, but I didn’t report myself to the police. My brother said he would take me to the police, fortunately, they came around.”
The FCT police spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, said the suspects would be arraigned soon.
Narrating how the failed heist was executed, David said Ehizo informed the gang members that the robbery would fetch them N7m, adding that he assured them that only a few staff members would be at work on the day of the incident.
David explained that the banker administered an oath of secrecy on him before they went for the robbery.
On entering the bank premises, the 19-year-old stated that they saw the policeman on duty sleeping, adding that they tied him with an old sponge and proceeded to the banking hall, where they also tied the workers on duty.
He had said, “Mr Larry (Ehizo) told us that the job could fetch about N7m. After we entered the bank, we saw the MOPOL (riot policeman) on duty sleeping, so Obinna pointed a pistol at him and we tied him with an old sponge. Mr Larry told us that he would keep the other door open for us.
“So, Larry and Obinna later went upstairs with a pair of pliers to disconnect the CCTV. On our way out, Larry suddenly shouted, ‘Ah, the MOPOL has escaped’, then I ran inside and all of us were scattered. I didn’t know what to do. Then the police fired teargas inside the banking hall.”
David said Ehizo attempted to implicate one of his colleagues after they were arrested.
Royal Disgrace! Oluwo Of Iwo Beats Up Fellow Monarch In Public, Osun Oba’s Call For His Suspension
Some monarchs in the Osun West Senatorial district have called for the suspension of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, shortly after he beat up another traditional ruler, the Agbowu of Ogbagba, Oba Dhikrulahi Akinropo, during a peace meeting for monarchs in Iwo, Ayedire, and Ola-Oluwa Local Government Areas of the state.
The Oluwo, on Friday, dealt a blow on the Agbowu, whose domain falls under the Ola-Oluwa council area, claiming he interrupted him during his speech by calling him a mad man.
The peace meeting, which was convened at the instance of the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police, Zone 11 was meant to broker peace among the monarchs in the three council areas that had been enmeshed in a land tussle for more than three months.
While the Oluwo advocated for the leasehold of land, instead of outright sales for developmental projects in the area, the other monarchs insisted that their land belongs to them and they reserve the right to sell them or not.
The state government intervened at a stage but the latest intervention by the police through the office of the AIG Zone 11 suffered a twist when the Oluwo pounced on the Agbowu.
The incident was witnessed by the state’s Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning, his counterpart, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, the AIG for Zone 11, and about seven monarchs, including the Onigege of Igege, the Olu of Ile-Ogbo.
Narrating the incident to journalists at the State Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo, where he was accompanied by six monarchs to receive medical treatment, the Agbowu said the Oluwo punched him for telling him that he did not sell any land in his domain but his own land.
The monarch was rushed to Asubiaro Hospital after the incident by other monarchs at the meeting. The monarchs at the hospital were the Onigege of Igege, Oba Kazeem Oyediran, Olu of Ileogbo, Oba Habeeb Adetoyese, Onifin of Ikonifin, Oba Solomon Ojo, Oluwo Oke of Iwo Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye and Onisara of Eesu, Oba Moshood Oparonla.
The Olu of Ileogbo, Oba Habeeb Adetoyese, who spoke on behalf of the monarchs, said, that they received an invite to a peacemaking meeting over an allegation that Oba Akanbi levelled against them.
He alleged that the Oluwo pounced on Oba Akinropo while he was making his speech at the peace meeting.
He said, “In October last year he wrote a petition against us to AIG Oyebade, that, we are threatening his life and we are selling his land. The AIG said he doesn’t want any issue in our regions, that we should solve it amicably among ourselves. The governor also gave us the same advice when we saw him on the matter
”The first peacemaking meeting that was organized for us at Iwo Local Government Secretariat, Oluwo disrupted the meeting, he came with thugs saying everybody should go to his domain.”
He said when the government realised that the meeting did not work, they organized another meeting. He said, ”Letter was sent to us for the invite and we all went for the program…when he (Oluwo) was talking, he alleged that, I, the monarch of Ile-Ogbo, was selling his lands and that, also, the Agbowo of Ogbaa Gbaa, the Onigege of Gege is also selling his land. I am selling only selling Ile Ogbo’s land and not Iwo land.
”In the meeting held the commissioner said if it is land he can’t intervene on any issue pertaining to land. He advised that the court can decide on that or that we meet the governor to sort things out.
”As the AIG was addressing us, the Oluwo started shouting that chaos and war will happen in the community. He stood up and started beating Agbowu. He beat him to the extent that it was the AIG that rescued the king from Oluwo. We are still in shock for a king to behave in that manner. When the man started feeling dizzy, we had to rush him down to Asubiaro hospital. He sustained an injury on his cheeks.
“We implore the government to suspend him (Oluwo) so that we can have peace in our domain. We have called our subjects that there is no cause for violence but he should be checked. Only the governor can caution him and if that is not done, he will destroy the entire region.”
Also, Babajide Siyanbola who is the legal adviser to Agbowo of Ogbaagbaa, said legal action will be taken on the matter.
Reacting to the allegation, the Oluwo in a statement, said that he was truly invited to make peace on his stance to curtail excessive land sales by monarchs under his domain, a pronouncement that did not go down well with those affected as they regrouped to act against his authority as the Oluwo who gave them the crown.
He said, “At the peace meeting held at AIG office, Agbowu of Ogbaagbaa interrupted me while making I am making my speech and started calling me unprintable names, pointing his staff of office at me while attempt to stick the staff in my eyes; I heavily rejected it with a force which the Agbowu could not withstand.
”How could a constable openly insult commissioner of police and make an attempt to beat the CP? Can any monarch try such with Ooni, Alaafin?” he said.
JUST IN: Uber Passenger Jumps Into Lagos Lagoon
A yet-to-be-identified man on Saturday jumped into the Lagoon around the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State.
It was learnt that the man had boarded a car-hailing service, Uber, from Gbagada to a destination in the state.
While the driver was commuting him to his destination, the passenger told the driver to park on the Third Mainland Bridge because he had a stomach ache.
After parking, the yet-to-be-identified man disembarked from the vehicle and jumped into the ocean around 11am.
The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, Nosa Okunbor, confirmed the incident, saying that rescue operation was ongoing.
He said, “The guy boarded Uber from Gbagada and when they got to the Third Mainland Bridge, he told the driver that he had stomach upset and that he needed to relieve himself. So when the driver parked, he got down from the vehicle, abandoned his belongings and jumped into the water.
“The incident happened around 11 am and our team has responded but I can’t confirm if he would be rescued alive or dead.”
BREAKING: 24-Hours To Swearing-In, Supreme Court Nullifies Bayelsa Gov-Elect, Lyon’s Election, Declares PDP Winner
The Supreme Court has nullified the election of Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon and his running mate Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.
Chief David Lyon was to be sworn-in on Friday.
In preparation for the inauguration, the PDP flag was on Thursday morning removed from the Bayelsa Government House.
The five-man panel of Supreme Court headed by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the All Progressives Congress’ candidates as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
The apex court ordered INEC to issue fresh certificates to the candidates of the party with the next highest votes and required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election, which are the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates.
Justice Ejembi Ekwo, who read the lead judgment of the apex, made the orders after disqualifying the APC’s deputy governorship candidate, Degi-Eremienyo, as a candidate in the election.