Saturday, November 29, 2014

Attempted Jail Break : Robbery Suspect trying to escape his cell in Oyo gets stuck

He was a suspected criminal. He did the unthinkable by using his bare hands to dig a hole inside the wall of a cell in order to escape. But he got stuck right inside the cell.According to Tribune Femi Akanji wears, like a cloak, an innocent look. In fact, he was well-known in Gbongan town in Osun State as a very nice and contented person, simply because his goods were always sold at cheaper prices than others. If an item is sold at N5,000 in other shops, an intending buyer is sure to get it f0r about N3,000 in Akanji’s shop.

What was unknown to his customers and neighbours were allegedly that the cheap goods were stolen by Akanji from burgled shops. Aside this, his action after his recent arrest by policemen from Oyo State Police Command depicts someone who is a hardened criminal. Or how else will one describe a man who dug the wall of the cell where he was detained overnight with his bare hands?

According to the Police Relations Officer in Oyo State, Olabisi Okuwobi-Ilobanafor, during a press briefing on Monday, Akanji’s story began on Wednesday, November 19, when he left his abode at Gbongan in Osun State for Ibadan, Oyo State, to carry out a criminal mission. Saturday Tribune gathered that late on that day, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Eleyele Division, Ayoola Olawole, received a call that suspected thieves broke into a shop at Idi-Ope area of the city.

A patrol team, led by one ASP Felix Obetta, was sent to the scene but the hoodlums had escaped, leaving behind a Honda Accord car with registration number AGL 25 BR. Goods such as six Samsung LED 32-inch TV, two Samsung LED 24-inch TV, seven Samsung DVD players, four LG DVD players, two Tiger generators, one Panasonic Home Theatre and remote control all valued at N550,000 were reportedly found in the car.

A discreet investigation was said to have led detectives from Eleyele Division to Gbongan on November 13 where Akanji, discovered to be the principal suspect, was arrested. A search conducted in his house led to the recovery of 48 bundles of Ankara material, seven new ladies’ bags, three pairs of ladies’ shoes, 27 speakers, 18 sound systems, 11 standing fans, eight electric irons, nine voltage regulators, one home theatre, two sets of aluminium chairs and glass centre tables, all valued N2.5 million.
Further investigation also revealed that Akanji never allowed his wife into the sitting room of their apartment, unknown to her that he was keeping the stolen goods there and wanted to keep them away from the prying eyes of his wife, in order to avoid questioning.

The suspect, after his arrest, almost put policemen in trouble as he attempted to escape from the cell he was kept. While the policemen on duty were at their desk and other inmates had slept, Akanji silently dug into the wall with his bare hands and also removed one of the cuffs of the leg chain he had on.

Saturday Tribune gathered that as he attempted to crawl out, he got stuck in the hole and had to cry out in pain. It was in this position that he was found when the policemen ran towards the cell.

In an interview with Saturday Tribune, the suspect narrated his story thus: “My name is Femi Akanji. I am 35 years old. I am from Abeokuta, Ogun State, but I had been living at Gbongan, Osun State about nine years ago. I have three children out of which my current wife gave birth to one.  I had only primary education after which I learnt how to drive.

“I was a commercial driver plying Ikire in Osun State to Ibadan, Oyo State. I was resident in Ibadan then. I belonged to a faction of the National Union of Road Transport Workers but left Ibadan when there was always fight between the two factions of the union then.

“I started trading in cassettes when I got to Gbongan. I was recently arrested by the police because I burgled a shop where I stole television and other electronics. I was doing it with one Jide. We both burgled a shop at University of Ibadan area in May this year. I knew Jide when I was living at Sawmill area of Ibadan. After I left Ibadan, we met at Agodi Gate area of Ibadan and I told him I had quit driving.

“That was how he told me that he had marked some shops that we could burgle and make money from the goods we steal from them. He was an okada rider. He showed me a shop each in UI, at Benjamin Bus Stop, Eleyele area and at Ojoo area. We are yet to go to the one at Ojoo.

 “We started operating in 2013 and this is the second operation. I did this one alone because I had a misunderstanding with Jide after our first operation. He said he was going to keep all the goods we stole to himself while I would take everything we would get at another operation.

 “Jide said he based his decision on the suspicion that I could cheat him and not give him anything after I must have sold the stolen goods. This was because I refused to let him know my residence at Gbongan. I however pleaded with him to give me a home theatre from our loot so that I would put it in my sitting room which he did.

“When I came to burgle on Wednesday, November 12, I arrived at Eleyele area at about 9:00p.m. and stayed in my car till about 11:00p.m. when I saw that the area was quiet. I broke the burglary of the window of the shop with a jack and gained entry.

“Unfortunately, two guys who were passing by saw me when I was bringing out more goods from the shop to add to those I had already loaded in my car. They went to call more people and they came, flashing their torchlight at me. They brought sticks and pursued me, forcing me to take to my heels to avoid being captured.

“I hid in a nearby school and left for the motor park at dawn. I went back to Gbongan without my car. I didn’t know how the police were able to trace me. All I saw was that they came to my shop at Gbongan and arrested me. They took me to the police station and kept me there, with the intention of going to Ibadan the following morning because it was already late on that November 13.”
So what happened overnight while he was in the cell, Saturday Tribune asked Akanji? I decided to escape from the cell to avoid the trouble I had put myself into, unknown to me that I was complicating matter. After my two cell mates had slept, I started using my hands to dig the wall silently in the dead of the night. I started from a point where I noticed a crack in the cell.

“When some bricks fell, I further used them in digging and after I had created a hole, I pushed my head into it and tried to escape before dawn. Unfortunately for me, I got stuck, so I shouted. My cry brought the policemen on duty towards the cell and woke my co-inmates up. That was how I was rescued and secured till I was brought to Ibadan.”

He also opened up on the reason he did not allow his wife entry into the family’s sitting room, saying “I wanted to hide the home theatre from her so that I would avoid questions that she would ask on how I got it.”

On how he felt after his arrest, Akanji said: “Now, I know that crime does not pay. If God should save me from the current situation I am in now, I will never venture into crime again in my life. I have realised that whatever is acquired fraudulently or any ill-gotten wealth does not last. I have my time and life. If I had been contented with my little business and had not engaged in crime, I would not have lost my belongings which now serve as part of the exhibits recovered.”

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