By Charles C. Opara
Its end of the road for a 33-year-old man, Obinna Okolie, who was dubbed the most notorious receiver of stolen goods and a key financier and recruiter of hijackers, terrorizing major highways in Lagos and other parts of the country.
Amen Super News gathered that, during the week, Obinna who is based in Onitsha, Anambra State, met his waterloo when operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in Lagos, led by SP Abba Kyari, tracked and apprehended him in his sanctuary in Onitsha.
Sources at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, disclosed that, the search for Obinna, who was described as highly elusive and discreet, began 10 years ago, when operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FED-SARS, in Lagos and Abuja, including their counterparts at the state command levels, learnt of his notoriety, following rampant cases of hijacking and diversions, which were traceable to him although he remained elusive.
AMEN Super News gathered that Obinna, received over 80 percent of all hijacked or diverted goods in Lagos and other adjoining states, between 2003 and 2014. He was also said to have sponsored and maintained over 50 different gangs of armed robbers, which included military personnel, who he had used in perpetuating his criminal activities.
During the interrogations, Obinna revealed how he coordinated his operations and created an empire of crime in many areas, in 2010.
AMEN Super News interviewed 38-year-old suspect identified as Emeka Ikenga,apprehended by SARS, who hijacked a truck carrying, a 40 feet container with goods worth, N11 million from its driver on the Benin-Ore Road and the goods were subsequently diverted to Onitsha, Anambra State. The driver of the truck and his conductor were abducted, sedated and they slept off, but were later dumped in the Mile 2 area of Lagos..State
The Imo State-born suspect, who was arrested at his residence in Apapa was said to be highly fetish and always escaped police arrest with ease.
Ikenga, also narrated how they hijacked the truck disguising as military personnel. According to him, “we are based in Lagos and he is at Onitsha. Whenever we get there for operation, he would instruct us on how to go about it. On the operation that brought me here, one of the conductors, Kalu, contacted my Chairman, Obinna, and they made the arrangement.
The conductor supplied the name of the driver of the truck and the number-plate. And, when they started out for the journey, Kalu called my chairman, we got alerted and we went after them.
”We intercepted them with our operational Helux Jeep at Ijebu-Ode and when the driver inquired what was happening, we showed him a warrant bearing his name and the number-plate of the truck, claiming that it was an order from the Chief of Army Staff that all trucks passing en-route should be searched for arms and ammunitions and that such vehicles should be towed to the nearest Police station. ”He insisted on driving his vehicle but we refused and pushed him and his conductor into the back seat of our Jeep.
”I went back into his truck. The other members of our gang together with the driver and his conductor, headed back to Lagos, he said
They injected them on the way though I was not there. After a little while, Obinna called us and instructed that we transfer the goods into another vehicle to prevent being trailed. We heeded his instruction and Kalu followed one of the vehicles down to Onitsha and I came back to Lagos, expecting my share of the loot which I did not get until my arrest.
A source, who spoke with AMEN Super News on the condition of anonymity said after FED-SARS busted the gang that operated with Hilux vans, Obinna, recruited a new gang that uses commercial bus.
This gang would drive round the Lagos metropolis in their commercial buses disguised as police officers on patrol. Then, they would stage a fake accident with their target, one of the robbers would drive off in the targeted vehicle, while the driver and conductor would be seized by the rest of the gang.
Before their arrest, they hijacked an articulated vehicle laden with cartons of engine oil in the Ojuelegba area of the state and the product valued at N15million. The eight-man gang was later rounded up by SARS operatives in Lagos and they confessed that Obinna received and also financed their operations.
The source added that, operatives tried using the suspects to apprehend Obinna but it turned out to be impossible. According to the source, “We took the suspects and the goods to Onitsha hoping to lure Obinna out with them. After several efforts it turned out that Obinna was elusive.
When we got to Onitsha, he sent a driver to take over the truck from the suspect we arrested and take it to his warehouse. We arrested the new driver but we didn’t know that, Obinna also sent another man to monitor the movement of the new driver he sent to us. Soon news got to him that we have arrested the new driver he disappeared.
Lucky, we arrested another gang who he sent to hijack PVC pipes and one of them had a direct contact with him. Our OC, Kyari, then hacked into his data and picked out contacts that were very close to him.
He then deployed a team to Onitsha, and they kept close watch on those contacts. Fortunately, Obinna contacted one of them who was owing him some money, then our operatives on ground used the person to apprehend him.
He was interrogated and he confessed to own the warehouses in Onitsha, Kano State and Cameron. “e are currently working hard to retrieve the goods and hand them over to owners,” he said.
The source further added that some of his most recent cases included a 40- feet container of Forever Living Product, 40-feet container of PVC pipes and another 40 -feet container of motor tyres. Others were 40- feet container of powder milk, 40- feet container of refrigerators, 40 -feet container of LG home theatre, two trucks of rice, one truck of solder chemicals, two 20ft containers of groundnut oil, a 40 feet container of motorcycle, Umbrella and a 20 feet container of school bags.
Obinna pleaded forgiveness never to return to crime if he is released. According to him “I have suffered a lot. A lot of people have committed atrocities with my name and the police thought I was the one. I admit I was a bad man but I am now a changed man. I was scared to get married because the police could use my wife to arrest me”. He lamented.