I JOINED ROBBERY GANG BECAUSE OF N800 STORYBOOK, ANDWAS GIVEN 1,000 AFTER THE OPERATION- 15YR OLD ROBBER

imageHis dream was education but he was cash trap; he began frantic search for money to realize this laudable dream, then friends lured him into what glittered which he thought was gold. Unknown to him, he was already neck-deep into armed robbery.
Recall that recently The AUTHORITY carried similar stories of teenage robbery and teenage cult groups like the awawa boys that terrorise the public living blood in their trail. The reasons given by these young criminals imply that the line between teenage robbery and cultism is so thin that crossing over from one to the other is as seamless as ABCD.
There is also the question of love and care by not just the parents and guardians but also by the government which has shown that it is incapable of investing in youth education and employment. Provision of qualitative education through good books and instructional materials, has become rocket science and the children are driven into robbery in an attempt to buy books for themselves as educational institutions suffer criminal negligence.
Of much concern is the sophistication and organization of these criminal elements and when they strike, they strike with precision leaving in their trail blood, sorrow and anguish. More so they are hardly deterred bringing the question whether there were connivance somewhere with those whose duty it is to maintain law and order.
Joseph Owa is a 15 years old teenager and a Senior Secondary School II student of Comprehensive High School, Irele in Irele local government area of Ondo State. He was desirous of a better education by getting involved in all class activities and buying all needed literature and story books for a better performance in the class. So during the second term holiday he went to Area J4 in Ijebu North Area of Ogun State, a border town between Ogun and Ondo where his mother resides. He was ready to do any job to ensure buying a story book worth N800 before the school resumes for another term, but he was not lucky as he joined a robbery gang to make some money.
Owa was recruited into armed robbery without knowing it and was successful in his first outing with his other colleagues as they were able to rob a vehicle which they waylaid at a bad portion of the road and collected some money from the passengers but the success was short-lived as the police from the Ogun State, following a tip-off, got them arrested within 24 hours of the operation.
The teenager who was paraded by the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Abdulmajid Ali at the
Comprehensive High School in J4, it was holiday that took me to J4 and I wanted to buy a story book which is sold for N800 in school, my mother is very old, I requested for the money from her and she gave me her words but later I saw a friend called Ayo who hunts snails and I requested him to take me to the farm to hunt for snails because I had no money.
“I don’t want my mother to suffer because of a story book and I don’t want her to suffer because of her age and I told Ayo to invite me whenever he is going hunting and Ayo agreed to take me along. The following morning, I went to Ayo and requested that we should go early in the morning because I wouldn’t want to go when it is sunning and he asked me to be patient.
“We later went to play football and after which we went to the river to clean up and that was where I met Ayo again and he asked me to come the following day to follow him somewhere, I asked him where we were going but he didn’t disclose but told me that we will go to the place with a bike and that is why I suggested a friend who leaves in the same place with me.
“I spoke with the friend and he agreed to provide the bike, I never knew it was a robbery mission until machetes were brought out and I asked him if that was our mission there. I also asked him if he was into robbery and that it was a bad business but he never listened and I also need money for the story book and that was why I joined them but I was given only N1, 000 because all I needed was N800 for the story book.”
But Owa and Ayo were not alone in this illicit business. Another teenage member of the gang, Gbenga Longe’s case is not different from that of Owa. The 17 year old Longe, a native of Ikale in Ondo State dropped out of the school because of lack of fund to continue his education because his parents, according to him, couldn’t afford further sending him to school. At a time, he lost both parents at a very tender age.
Longe also required buying tools for his carpentry work which he chose after abandoning the education and also had to seek for help from Ayo who later led them to the robbery scene. Like Owa, Longe also explained that he wasn’t aware of the mission at the expressway until when cutlasses were brought out.
He said, “I don’t go to school because I was into carpentry. I am a native of Ikale in Ondo. I followed my friends as they requested that I should follow them somewhere but I never knew where they were going because I was new in that town and I followed him. He is now at large. He had a motorcycle but doesn’t know how to ride and that is why I rode the motorcycle and when we got there, I was asked to pack beside a bush where he brought out cutlasses and it was only N1, 000 I collected from the money.
Fase Samson is the oldest of the gang, but guess what? He’s just 19 and a product of broken home yet desirous of being somebody in life through education after his mother, who had been sponsoring him alongside two other siblings died when he was only in primary six.
Samson, who is from Ilu Tuntun also in Ondo State and a colleague of Owa at the Community Comprehensive High School said his step brothers and sisters who were much older were not willing to sponsor them to schools because they weren’t in support of their father’s second marriage to Samson’s mother, the relationship which later produced three children.
Command’s headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital alongside other teenagers, many of whom are students of the same school, said he only attempted to assist her aged mother who had earlier agreed to pay for the story book and confessed to have been part of the robbery team. While speaking with The AUTHORITY, he explained that he had offered to go for snail hunting with a friend who now became the kingpin, simply identified as Ayo only for the snail hunt to become manhunt along the highway. After the robbery, Owa was happy as he got N1, 000 from the proceeds of the outing since what he needed was N800 for the story book.
Confessing to the robbery, Owa said, “I am arrested because I followed my friends to go for robbery near Olorunsogo in Ogbere, Ogun State. We were arrested last week Friday and that is the only day I followed them for robbery. I was arrested inside our house with my mother in Area J4 because I was part of that robbery and we only collected one phone and N25, 000. It was a lorry we robbed, we laid ambush at a bad portion of the road, the lorry was almost falling before we moved in and we collected the money, we don’t have guns but we only used machetes that were provided by the leader of the gang who is now at large.
“I am an SSS 2 student of Comprehensive High School in J4, it was holiday that took me to J4 and I wanted to buy a story book which is sold for N800 in school, my mother is very old, I requested for the money from her and she gave me her words but later I saw a friend called Ayo who hunts snails and I requested him to take me to the farm to hunt for snails because I had no money.
“I don’t want my mother to suffer because of a story book and I don’t want her to suffer because of her age and I told Ayo to invite me whenever he is going hunting and Ayo agreed to take me along. The following morning, I went to Ayo and requested that we should go early in the morning because I wouldn’t want to go when it is sunning and he asked me to be patient.
“We later went to play football and after which we went to the river to clean up and that was where I met Ayo again and he asked me to come the following day to follow him somewhere, I asked him where we were going but he didn’t disclose but told me that we will go to the place with a bike and that is why I suggested a friend who leaves in the same place with me.
“I spoke with the friend and he agreed to provide the bike, I never knew it was a robbery mission until machetes were brought out and I asked him if that was our mission there. I also asked him if he was into robbery and that it was a bad business but he never listened and I also need money for the story book and that was why I joined them but I was given only N1, 000 because all I needed was N800 for the story book.”
But Owa and Ayo were not alone in this illicit business. Another teenage member of the gang, Gbenga Longe’s case is not different from that of Owa. The 17 year old Longe, a native of Ikale in Ondo State dropped out of the school because of lack of fund to continue his education because his parents, according to him, couldn’t afford further sending him to school. At a time, he lost both parents at a very tender age.
Longe also required buying tools for his carpentry work which he chose after abandoning the education and also had to seek for help from Ayo who later led them to the robbery scene. Like Owa, Longe also explained that he wasn’t aware of the mission at the expressway until when cutlasses were brought out.
He said, “I don’t go to school because I was into carpentry. I am a native of Ikale in Ondo. I followed my friends as they requested that I should follow them somewhere but I never knew where they were going because I was new in that town and I followed him. He is now at large. He had a motorcycle but doesn’t know how to ride and that is why I rode the motorcycle and when we got there, I was asked to pack beside a bush where he brought out cutlasses and it was only N1, 000 I collected from the money.
Fase Samson is the oldest of the gang, but guess what? He’s just 19 and a product of broken home yet desirous of being somebody in life through education after his mother, who had been sponsoring him alongside two other siblings died when he was only in primary six.
Samson, who is from Ilu Tuntun also in Ondo State and a colleague of Owa at the Community Comprehensive High School said his step brothers and sisters who were much older were not willing to sponsor them to schools because they weren’t in support of their father’s second marriage to Samson’s mother, the relationship which later produced three children.

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