By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
A university graduate turned car hirer driver arrested in Lagos over alleged armed robbery by the police, has confessed to the crime, blaming the removal of the fuel subsidy for his action.
Adeniran Jeremiah, a 29-year old graduate of accounting from a University in Republic of Benin, told journalists in a chat that he was forced into robbing his passengers due to the dip in profit from the business as a result of the fuel subsidy removal.
The suspect was paraded along with other suspected criminals at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, on Friday.
According to Jeremiah, on his graduation from a university in Republic of Benin, he could not easily secure a job and in other to take care of his needs, he opted to engage in car drop business by enlisting with BOLT in Lagos.
Jeremiah said as a Bolt driver, he was making good money from several bookings daily, until fuel subsidy was removed.
Due to the increase in pump prize of fuel, he said, his daily earnings nose-dived and he could barely meet with his financial obligations.
He subsequently disengaged from Bolt and enlisted with RIDA; another car drop service company not necessarily with intent to do genuine business, but as a means of robbing unsuspecting passengers, who move particularly at night time.
Speaking fluently in English language, the suspect said he had brought two of his friends to form the robbery gang which had a strategic style of carrying out their nefarious operations.
According to him, on Friday 28th July, 2023 someone had ordered him to pick her along Governor’s Road, Ikotun area of Lagos from a particular point.
As Jeremiah had arranged with his two colleagues in crime on where to lay ambush, he picked the passenger and on getting to the spot, he informed the passenger that his vehicle had a flat tyre and he needed to change it.
As he pulled up, his two colleagues emerged from their hideout to threaten both himself and the passenger with guns.
They quickly surrendered as the two men ordered him to join the woman at the back seat without the woman knowing that he was part of the robbery team.
As one of them took over the steering from Jeremiah, they drove off but no sooner had they gone far than Jeremiah introduced himself to the passenger as a member of the robbery team.
They threatened her and ordered her to surrender every valuable on her.
According to him, the sum of N60,000 was stolen, phone and other valuable items were taken away from her before she was dropped elsewhere.
He confessed that, the incident was his first robbery attempt. After the 28th July, he planned another two operations with two colleagues and they succeeded in robbing the victims good sums of money at night, adding that they normally operated only at nights during weekdays when some people go to clubs and other social activities.
Jeremiah similarly confessed of how his three-man gang robbed another passenger who had ordered for a ride to African Shrine, Alausa Ikeja. As usual, his colleagues had positioned elsewhere to carry out the operation.
However, Jeremiah ran out of luck few days ago, when a woman his gang had robbed saw him at a shopping complex at Ikotun and quickly raised alarm on recognising his facial looks as he did not wear mask during the robbery incident.
The alarm attracted many people around, who almost lynched him before some of them intervened and insisted on taking him to the police.
The accounting graduate confessed that from the four persons robbed so far, he got a total of N700,000 as his own share.
While blaming the fuel subsidy removal as the primary cause of his involvement in robbery, he pleaded with Nigerian youth to be patient in their quest to become rich.
He regretted his action and the embarrassment he has brought to his family particularly his wife and child.
Jeremiah advised passengers who make use of car drop services like UBER, BOLT and RIDA to be mindful of who they engage as the poor economic situation in the country has led many people into some devilish activities.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, who was represented by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin used the opportunity to announce that since he launched his OPERATIONS FLUSH a fortnight ago, the police in various divisions in Lagos have stepped up efforts which have resulted in the arrest of over 30 suspects paraded at the event.
Among the suspects were those who engaged in armed robbery, cultism, car snatching and many other heinous crimes.