At least 100 armed robbery suspects escaped from the Lagos State Police custody during the #EndSARS protest, SaharaReporters has gathered.
The suspects escaped from the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention centre in Ikeja.
Lagos CP Hakeem Odumosu
SaharaReporters learnt some senior police officers aided their escape a few days after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, announced the disbandment of SARS.
Adamu had on October 11 announced the disbandment of the police unit following nationwide protests over its brutality.
“About 100 of them were released by some senior police officers immediately the IGP announced the disbandment of SARS. We have arrested two operatives; one of them confessed they did it to increase the rate of crime in Lagos which they intended to link to the disbandment of SARS.
“So far, we have arrested about 20 of the suspects; some of them couldn’t jump the fence when they were told to run away. Others were arrested while committing another offence,” a police source told SaharaReporters.
A notorious robber and rapist, Adeniyi Ajayi, was said to be among the fleeing suspects.
It will be recalled that Ajayi, aka Ogologo, was paraded by the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, in August 2020.
Speaking on how the suspect was arrested, Odumosu said he had robbed some female and male staff of a company on June 16, 2020.
Rather than showing remorse for his action, Ajayi begged the police to kill him, instead of sending him back to prison.
He said his modus operandi was to break into victims’ homes, ordering them to cooperate with him or risk being killed by other members of his gang whom he claimed had surrounded the building.
He confessed to having operated at Sabo, Ijora Badia and Lagos Island areas.
SaharaReporters gathered Ajayi had already robbed two families and raped a lady after he escaped from SARS custody.
A source said, “They said he uses juju. I don’t know what to believe, but the guy is quite artful and very prolific. He knows how to escape and evade arrest. We were on his trail for a while until, with the help of SARS, he was recently arrested.
“However, during the #EndSARS campaign, a neighbourhood security person informed me that the guy had been released. I didn’t believe it. I made calls to some SARS officers at the Lagos State Command of Nigeria.
“They told me it’s a lie, but my security source was adamant. Just last week, we got information that he robbed two homes recently and raped someone. When I confronted the SARS officers, they owned up that the guy is no longer in detention as he had escaped in the course of a purported jailbreak.
“This explanation sounded fishy because there was no report of a jailbreak anywhere in Lagos during the #EndSARS protests. So how come? Our lives are now in danger.”
SaharaReporters, New York