The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force, Adeniji-Adele Street, Lagos, on Monday paraded a chief of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State, Itunnu Odeyemi, and eight others, saying they were notorious for snatching exotic cars in the country.
The police said Odeyemi was also an APC Local Government Area executive in Efon-Alaaye, Ekiti State.
Other members of the nine-man gang are Omoniyi Ajewole, Oluseye Jacob, Oluwadamiliare Rasaki, Ajisafe Olawale, Ogunniyi Sunday, Tolani Babatunde, Abubakar Umar, and Ayodeji Olumudi.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, said the suspects were arrested after a victim, who was robbed of two vehicles and other valuables on June 27, 2013 in Ile-Ife, Osun State, reported to the police. He added that the case was later transferred to the FSARS.
It was gathered that the arrest of Ajewole, a 28-year-old man from Ilesha, Osun State, had led to the arrest of other members of the gang which included Odeyemi, who Ajewole also claimed was his political godfather.
While speaking with journalists, Odeyemi denied being a member of the gang. He said he provided Ajewole with a locally-made gun, which the police have recovered, to protect him during the period of the recently concluded governorship election in Ekiti State.
He said, “Omoniyi (Ajewole) is my political thug. I brought him to my place and gave him a gun to secure me. I have never participated in any robbery operation, but he used to escort me with the gun. Having an escort was part of the gains of being a political leader. All APC leaders were working for the government during the election.
“Every political party, including ours has factions. That was why I gave him the gun, so that he could always protect me wherever I went. I also told him to be with me, particularly as the Ekiti election was approaching then. I had seen the gun on the ground during the 2007 elections violence in the state and had kept it.”
Ajewole, who was first caught by the police, confessed during interrogation that he had been working as a political thug for the APC chieftain.
He said, “He had given me the gun to use in protecting him during campaign violence. But I had not yet used the gun before I was arrested in September 2013. I am not a robber. I prefer to be called a political thug. I was the only one the honourable (Odeyemi) gave the gun, and he also paid me salary.”
Our correspondent learnt that after the arrest of the gang, the FSARS were able to recover 17 stolen cars in different parts of the country, most of which were Toyota and Honda brands. Three assorted guns were also recovered from them.
Mba said the suspects would soon be arraigned in court.
He said, “This is a case that started on June 27, 2013 when a Nigerian was robbed of two vehicles and other valuables and he reported the incident to the police. This arrest is one of the achievements of the FSARS. It led to the arrest of nine suspects who were clearly linked with not just the armed robbery reported, but a series of such in the country.
“An interesting aspect of the arrest is that Ajewole confessed to the police that he was not an armed robber, but also a political thug working for Odeyemi Itunnu from Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State. We want to warn politicians to steer clear of actions that are capable of posing a threat to the security of the country.”