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I Started Planning Abuja Bank Robbery In October — First Bank Staff Who Masterminded Attack Confesses

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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.

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BREAKING: Lagos Orders Closure Of Schools Over #EndSARS Protests

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The Lagos State Government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.

Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, who issued the directive, said the safety of the pupils/students, parents, and all staff working in schools was paramount “at this critical period.”

She, however, advised parents to keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society.

The Commissioner also encouraged schools to utilize other means of distance teaching and learning such as radio, television, and online media as they have been doing during and post COVID-19 lockdown.

According to Adefisayo, a new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.

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‘They Forced Me To Take Off My Bra’ —- #EndSARS Protester Dragged And Beaten By Police Narrates Experience In Ojuelegba Station [VIDEO]

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Treasure Nduka, one of the #EndSARS protesters arrested in Lagos, says she was beaten by more than 10 police officers and forced to take off her bra in their presence.

Speaking with TheCable, she said the police officers at the Ojuelegba station where she was arrested and detained, shot at protesters, and labelled her a criminal.

As the #EndSARS protests spread across the country, there have been reports of security operatives clamping down on youths expressing their displeasure over the growing rate of police brutality in the country.

“At first, it was empowering seeing that a couple of youths were able to make that much impact and at a point, those that were stuck in traffic joined us in the protest. They came down to sympathize with us. It was really peaceful at the beginning. We didn’t know it was going to the extent of police shooting at us,” Nduka said.

“When the shooting started, I refused to believe that they were shooting. It sounded like a knockout. We heard the first one from afar and we saw people running, but I insisted that we should take our stand. I was not doing anything wrong, so I didn’t feel the need to run. All of a sudden, I saw a bunch of policemen come out and then I realized that this is actually for real.

“I did not know who to reach out. The only people who were aware were brothers who had told me not to come out. I saw a policeman running towards me. He dragged me and I was calling out for people to do something. A bunch of other policemen assisted him in dragging me. I was helpless. It was me against 10 0f them. They kept hitting me. I only tried to cover my face so that I don’t get hit on the face. I could not place an identity on any of them because it was all of them present at that point.

“They said I should pull off my bra. Then, I took off my bra. Everything they did was so unconstitutional.”

Nduka and her colleagues were released after the intervention of Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives.

Watch the full interview below:

 

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BREAKING: Leave The Roads, Embrace Dialogue, Sanwo-Olu Urges #EndSARS Protesters

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to #EndSARS protesters demonstrating against police brutality and extrajudicial killings to leave the roads and embrace dialogue.

This was contained in a statement titled, ‘Leave The Road And Let’s Dialogue, Sanwo-Olu Appeals To Protesters’, on Monday, by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile.

The #EndSARS protests rocking the country have continued for almost two weeks with youths calling for a lasting reform of the Nigeria Police Force.

Major highways have been blocked by the youths, thereby grounding economic activities.

Speaking on Monday while swearing-in members of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution at the State House in Marina, Sanwo-Olu said the pain expressed and concerns raised by the protesters were genuine and legitimate.

The governor was quoted as saying, “We have shown an unprecedented commitment to the complete overhaul of the Nigerian Police. The inauguration of this Judicial Panel of Inquiry is only the first step in a long line of reformative actions that will lead to a thorough revamp and reorientation of the Nigeria Police. I believe that some of the actions we have taken should, to a large extent, show our sincerity and willingness to address all your concerns.

“Let me reiterate that I am on the side of the young people out there. I understand your pain and I know your concerns are genuine and legitimate. While we are able to immediately acquiesce to some of your demands, some others will require time. We ask you to bear with us as we dutifully work on your demands.

“I will, therefore, like to renew my appeal to you to suspend the protests and create an atmosphere for the resolution of all pending demands. I encourage everyone brutalized by the disbanded SARS, including the families of those who died, to present their case before this tribunal.”

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