Thirty-two-year-old Francis Okonkwo was sobbing as
he narrated how he escaped death and landed in
“I am happy that at least, the police
arrested me; if not because of the police,
I would be dead by now. The residents
of the place I went to rob would have cut
me into pieces,” he told our
Narrating how he took part in a robbery operation that
nearly cost him his life, Okonkwo explained that he
would have stuck to picking pocket which was safer.
“I made up to N10,000 sometimes,
when I was a pick-pocket at the Seme
Border at Badagry,” he said
remorsefully. “But I needed a lump sum
of money to set up my electronics repair
workshop. So, I decided to take part in
this robbery operation.
On March 24, 2015, an old acquaintance of
Okonkwo’s, a young man he identified simply as Uche,
told him to come to Sagamu.
“I knew Uche about four years ago,
when we were working at the Seme
Border. At the time, I was doing odd jobs
while also making money as a pick-
“Uche left Seme around 2012 and I did
not know what he was doing while
away. But in February, he came to Seme
to buy some clothes and he told me that
I should come and visit him in Sagamu.
The day I went to see him on March 24,
he told me of a plan to rob a company
along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
That was the only details he gave me.
“By evening, I followed him to a bush
around NASFAT and we hid there. He
made a call and three other men joined
us. I had not seen them before. Uche
opened a leather bag he was carrying
and brought out a locally made shotgun
and pistol. He held on to one and gave
the other to one of the other men. All I
held was a machete.”
Saturday Punch learnt that around 2am, the five men
proceeded to Olowotedo area where they robbed
residents.He told our correspondent that one of the
gang members raped a woman in one of the houses
“The woman was with her husband. But
he raped the woman there. I did not
take part and neither did the others,
But residents of Olowotedo had notified one another, it
was learnt. Soon, they had all gathered outside
shouting ‘Thief! Thief!’
Okonkwo said when he peeped out of the window of
the third house they were robbing, he realised that
there was no way for them to escape.
“We went to the roof of the next house,
still no way to escape for me. Three of
our members, including Uche were
lucky. I did not know when they
“Not long after that, the residents
caught me and another member of our
gang called Igwe. They beat us
mercilessly and I thought they were
going to kill us. They used the machete I
was holding to flog and inflict cuts all
over our bodies.”
Igwe was said to have died from the injuries inflicted
on him. Different parts of Okonkwo’s body were
dripping with pus when our correspondent spoke with
him. The police had previously taken him to hospital
for treatment but his injuries are extensive.
“I pray I see my son again. The first
thing I would tell him is never to indulge
in crime,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Ogun State
Command, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, said investigation
was still ongoing as the police were working to track
down other members of the gang.