Mr. Ola Suleiman, 29, a suspected armed robber, has told police that he usually robbed to give to the poor. He sees himself as the modern day Robin Hood. His words: “I don’t spend my money alone! God is my witness; whenever I steal, I share with poor and hungry people. I hope to become very rich someday and help hungry people because hunger is the worst thing that can happen to a person.” Detectives attached to the Lagos State Police Command are still quizzing him.
Suleiman, residing at Abbatoir, Agege area of Lagos State, was arrested on September 18, 2016, for armed robbery. He was arrested after he went with two of his partners, to rob a Christ Apostolic Church pastor’s house in Ijaiye. He stole money, laptop, phone and jewelry. He confessed to have robbed the pastor because the cleric was rich, but stingy. The pastor lives on the suspect’s street. After the robbery operation, Suleiman left the building, got to the gate and became confused. He said everywhere looked strange. He said it was like he missed his way; he couldn’t fathom what happened to him. Although it was his street, he said he didn’t know where he was anymore.
His partners ran off, leaving him. He was standing at the gate, wondering where he was and where to go, when police came to pick him. Suleiman said that he attended Moshood Abiola Primary School and Egba High School. He, however, didn’t finish his secondary school education because of the death of his mother.
He dropped out in Junior Secondary School (JSS2). He said that after his mother passed away, his dad remarried and abandoned him. The situation was made worse by the fact that Suleiman didn’t get along with his step-mum. He started fending for himself and soon embraced the world of crime.
He said: “After robbing the house, I couldn’t find my way out of the house. I was arrested. I used to pass this pastor’s house every time. I have noticed he’s very wealthy, but stingy. I hate people who have, but cannot give. So, I got my eyes fixed on him and his movements. I wanted to know the right time to hit him. One day, I was hungry and cashless. I decided to stroll around our street, to see if I could get something to eat.
I noticed the pastor’s gate was open; I saw beggars asking him for alms, but he turned them away. I became very sad. I made up my mind to steal from him before the week runs out.” He said that immediately he made up his mind to steal from the pastor, he got two of his friends involved. The date of the robbery was set for September 18, 2016. Recollecting the robbery, he said: “We didn’t hurt anyone. We just went in, collected money and some valuables we felt would fetch us money and left. But I got very confused when I got outside. I couldn’t find my way anymore.
Everywhere looked very confusing to me. My friends even left me; till date, my friends are yet to be found. In the midst of my confusion, I was caught and taken to the police station.”
Suleiman said that although he had been stealing for long, this was the first time he would be arrested. He confessed to have started robbing since 2012. He said he had lost count of the numbers of people he had robbed.
He added: “I started robbing after my mother died. I had to take care of myself. If my mum was alive, I’m very sure I wouldn’t have become a thief. My father is a commercial bus driver. I don’t hope to take over from him because the bus is very old. He inherited the bus from his father. Since I started robbing, I have never killed anyone.
I just go on operation with a machete and a pipe; I fashioned the pipe into a gun to scare people, so that they would cooperate.” He further said that he didn’t use to wear face mask to go for operations. He said he had been robbing for so long, that it no longer feels like a crime. He narrated: “After I was arrested, the pastor was invited to identify the robbers; he just pointed at me. I didn’t argue because I knew I did it to help myself and other hungry people in the community.”