Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police (IG) Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) were stunned when Sunday Shoremekan (29), a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), disclosed that he and others used to hide their weapons at the back of a police station.
Shoremekan knows that is the most unlikely place that anyone could go to carry out a search. He said as as an armourer, it was his duty to ensure that operational weapons were concealed properly.
The suspect was among five NURTW members arrested for allegedly being responsible for major unrest in Lagos State and neighbouring states.
The suspects are Bashiru (29), operating at Toll Gate, Ayodele (35), working at Ilupeju, Egbeware (34), working at Ilupeju, Shoremekan works at Ogunmokun park, Mushin, but stationed at Toll Gate and Adefemi (29) working at Mushin area.
A police source said that under the guise of NURTW, the suspects wreaked havoc on Lagos and were actively being used by politicians to attack and maim their opponents.
The source said: “They are assassins, who usually pose as thugs or cultists and go about killing, robbing and maiming innocent citizens during any NURTW crisis in any part of Lagos. These dangerous assassins, who usually disguise as thugs or cultists, are sponsored and maintained by power hungry politicians or some members of NURTW who want to use them for their selfish motives, like when they want to overthrow democratically elected executives of NURTW branch.”
It was learnt that operatives have gone after other fleeing members. The hunt and eventual arrest of some of the NURTW members started after the IG received a series of complaints about their activities.
“The areas of Lagos State most affected by these senseless killings and robberies are Toll Gate, Onipanu by Railway, Odinolowo, Ilupeju, Mushin area, Fadeyi, Onigbongbo and Oshodi,” said the source.
When the IRT operatives started their investigations, they tracked down the five suspects, while others went into hiding.
Police recovered an AK47 rifle, two single-barrelled locally-made pistols, 10 round automatic revolvers, one locally-made double-barrelled gun cut-to-size, one pump action rifle and a dagger.
“The suspects use the sharp dagger to kill when they don’t want gun sounds to be heard,” said the source.
One of the suspects, Ibrahim, said: “I stay at Toll Gate and I’m the treasurer to Lateef aka Ikaa. I’m a member of NURTW and I started working with the organisation after my secondary school education.”
When asked his role in the NURTW, Ibrahim simply picked one of the guns in his front and said: “These two – the AK47 rifle and its magazine – belong to my chairman, Ikaa. We use the gun to fight. During election, I was with Lateef Sunday, Oye Ayodele aka A.Y. Ojo and Efe. We went there with three guns; revolver, double-barrelled cut-to-size gun and a pump action rifle. Ikaa told us that we were going to the election to work. All the guns were carried by Ayodele.”
He said that the fight was between them and Otunba boys. He didn’t say who the Otunba was.
Ayodele said: “I’m not their armourer, but I carried the whole guns in two bags and headed to Church Street, at Ilupeju, as instructed by our chairman, Ikaa. I gave Ibrahim revolver, Ojo, who is still at large, took the double-barrelled cut-to-size and Lateef took the pump action rifle. One day, we stormed Fadeyi area. Ikaa had deployed men in strategic positions.”
He said that when they started fighting, policemen from Ilupeju Police Station stormed the scene and tried to stop the fight, but, “when policemen heard the sounds of our guns, they ran back to their station.”
Narrating his own story, Egbeware said: “I used to sell ‘smoke’ (Indian hemp) at Mushin, but my family members stopped me. They advised me to look for a job, which will make me to look responsible. I stopped selling ‘smoke’ and got a job as a security guard. I also work as a commercial cyclist. The plan was okay, but the company of friends made me to do wrong things.
“I got my gun after I stopped selling ‘smoke’. I will tell you the truth and let the devil be ashamed. I know I’m a sinner. It was during one of the times I was on duty as a guard that robbers struck; I went after them. As I was pursuing them, one of the robbers mistakenly dropped his gun. I picked it and went home with it. I have never used it for robbery, only to fight our opponents. I also use it to protect myself whenever there’s NURTW crisis.
“I don’t intend to kill with it, rather to scare away my opponents and protect my life when it is in danger.”
Shoremekan said: “I’m their number one armourer, but I live under the bridge. I don’t have a house. My park is Ogunmokun. When operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) arrested Ikaa in February 2018, I was the one who went and hid his AK47 rifle and magazines. I hid the other guns at the back of the police post at the Toll Gate. I have been hiding guns for the gang since 2017. It was Rahemi Atere that was their armourer before I took over from him. I kept revolver pistol and AK47 rifle and the magazine in Ibrahim’s bag. I sold a double-barrelled cut-to-size for N35,000 to Ikaa. I sold another one to Judo for N35,000. Judo stays at Surulere and is a member of Eiye Confraternity under the command of Baresi, an NURTW member at Ijuelegba.
“I also sold one gun to Adeyemi aka White for N35,000 at Shomolu, Bariga. It’s Samson, an Eiye member at Mushin, who introduced me to gun running business. It’s also Samson who introduced me to a guy called Solution; he lives in Ajah, but specialises in going to Benin Republic to get guns. If Solution sells a gun to me at N30,000, I resell at N35,000.”
He added: “I was in the toilet one day when I overheard Ikaa saying that we should handover an AK47 rifle to Toheeb aka Alamu at Jibowu to enable them to hide it. They got the rifle through John Ibafo.”