A mild drama played out at the Eleweran Headquarters of the Ogun State Police Command on Thursday when a suspected bank robber, Aitlabor Gelebele, claimed that the explosives and cables found in his possession was for his fishing business, not armed robbery.
While the Ogun Police fingered the suspect as a bank robber, he denied the allegation, insisting that he used the explosives to kill large number of fishes in the river and then sold them.
According to the police authorities, Gelebele had three other accomplices – Moses Demene, Friday Saborom and Mohammadu Kaidiri – and they were arrested while planning to rob a bank in the Ijebu Ode area of the state.
Parading the suspects at the police headquarters in Abeokuta, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Finance and Administration), Celestine Okoye, said the suspected robbers were arrested last month with four explosive devices and connection wires.
Okoye told journalists that the materials were usually used in blasting through banks’ security doors, adding that the suspects were arrested in Ayepe town of the state following a tip-off by vigilant members of the area.
But Gelebele insisted on his innocence, disclosing that he used the explosives for fishing in Delta State and only came to Ogun because Demene called and offered to pay him N150, 000 for the devices.
Speaking to journalists, Gelebele said he agreed to sell the explosives because he needed the money to take care of his pregnant wife.
“I normally use the explosives for fishing by putting the explosives in the water and then connect them to wires”, he explained. “When the explosives go off, they shock the fish to death and I catch them”.
Confessing to being the leader of the gang, Demene said he was aware of a robbery plan on a bank in Ijebu Ode and had to call Gelebele who was in the possession of the explosives.
He said they were on their way to meet the ring leader of the robbery operation when a commercial motorcycle rider spotted them alighting from a bus from Delta State and informed the police.
DCP Okoye said all the suspects were coming from Delta State to meet another leader of the gang simply identified as Wisdom in Ogun, who was planning a robbery operation.
He said, “Information was received by policemen on patrol at Ayepe town that a gang had been seen with bags and on getting the information, they were intercepted by the team.
“When they were searched, four explosive devices with three connection wires were recovered from them. The suspects confessed that they were coming from Delta State to meet their gang leader named Wisdom in Ogun State, now at large, to rob”.
The police boss said the suspects would be charged to court at the appropriate time even as he disclosed that the case was still under investigation.