Lagos State Police Command has arrested members of a gang that allegedly robbed Murtala Muhammed International Airport on March 13, 2013.
The police on Tuesday said the gang was also behind another operation at the same airport in 2012.
One of the suspects, Atoba Adeniyi, who confessed to being part of the two operations, however, said his share was only N45.5m –N45m in the first and N500,000 in the second.
Adeniyi spoke while being paraded alongside six others involved in the robberies at the headquarters of the state command in Ikeja.
The suspects had stormed the airport on March 13 and carted away millions of naira and foreign currencies after killing two police inspectors.
It was learnt that the robbers, Ibikunle John, Atoba Adeniyi, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Kazeem Aderibigbe, Saheed Adekunle, Christian Joshua and Saheed Okunola, stole over $2.5m (N400m) in the 2012 robbery.
Adeniyi, who claimed he only drove those that carried out the recent robbery at the Airport, explained that he had a transport company and other businesses.
He said, “I was involved in the airport robbery in 2012. I am not naturally an armed robber. I used to be a truck driver in Bayelsa State and they (the other robbers) told me they needed my services. It was later I discovered that they wanted to stage a robbery. After the robbery, I was paid N45m.
“I went back to Ibadan in Oyo State, where I built a duplex and started a transport company. I cut all ties with the robbers and even changed my telephone line but they found me and told me that I must come for one last operation. After the second operation that two policemen were killed, I was given N500, 000 because things did not go as planned.”
John, who claimed to be a pastor, said he only prayed for the suspects and gave them spiritual items to aid them in their operations.
He said he only met the suspects in February and had tried to dissociate himself from them but they threatened to kill him if he did not play along.
The suspect said, “I met them through a friend, Paul, who brought them for prayers at my church, the Way of Joy in Egbe, Lagos. Later, they confessed that they were robbers and threatened to kill me if I exposed them. I made them to swear an oath of secrecy and also gave them some spiritual backing.
“I never followed them to any robbery because I still have a congregation that needs me.”
Abdullahi, who is a labourer at the airport, said he was not an active member of the gang but only an informant.
Abdullahi, an indigene of Plateau State, said he usually helped people to carry luggage at the airport.
He said, “I never followed them to any operation. I only told them how they could steal money from some people at the airport that carry large amounts of cash. After the robbery in 2012, they paid me N1.5m for my cooperation.
“I collected it because the amount of money I was making from pushing around trolleys was too little. Imagine, I was earning between N700 and N1000 per day. It was just too little.”
The Commissioner of Police for the state police command, Umar Manko, said the suspects had been linked to a series of robberies in the South-West.
Manko said three vehicles and some rounds of ammunition were recovered from them.
He said, “During last month’s robbery, two policemen were killed. However, one of the robbers, later identified as Teslim Okunola, was also killed. From the corpse, we were able to gather information which led to the arrest of the other suspects.
“We recovered from them, five AK-47 rifles, four dynamites, 64 AK 47 magazines fully loaded, two local pistols, two masks and many charms.”