Connect with us


Pastor, vigilante nabbed for armed robbery



I hunted animals, not humans with my guns, says cleric

By Funke Busari

Ola Olayode, 45, a self-confessed pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG) presiding over a parish in Ogun State, is currently in trouble. So also is Owonikoko Akeem John, 36, a Unit Commandant of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, (VGN). They are both in hot soup over allegations of armed robbery.  The Ogun State Police Command informed the reporter that Owonikoko Akeem was the mastermind of several nefarious crimes that took place at Obalende area of Ogun State.

The suspects were arrested along the Sagamu Ijebu-Ode-Benin highway axis in Ogun State following an operation led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Omosanyi Adeniyi, the Area Commander in Ijebu-Ode.

Upon his arrest, Akeem reportedly made a confessional statement, where he allegedly fingered a certain police Inspector of simply identified as Ola as the supplier of the gun in his possession. It would be discovered later that Ola, a pastor with the RCCG, isn’t a police inspector as he made people to believe.

How we got them – Police

But for the Ogun State Police Command Headquarters Eleweran Abeokuta, Obalende residents will now sleep well with their two eyes closed because of the arrest of Akeem Owonikoko. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ogun State, Omolola Odutola, a Superintendent of Police (SP) said Akeem was sighted in a Toyota Camry driving inwards Ijebu-Ode from Ososa. She said as soon as the suspect sighted the police while trying to negotiate the Ijebu-Ode Highway, he diverted into a close. In the words of the PPRO, the police chased him, but noted that all the occupants of the vehicle scampered into the bush. The police spokesperson said the ACP divided the team into a cardinal search during which a disguised man in VGN uniform who was the alleged mastermind of several nefarious crimes in the state attempted to outsmart the policemen, but he was arrested. The police further stated that when a search was conducted on the vehicle that the suspect earlier abandoned, a black cellophane bag containing 32 expended cartridges were recovered among other exhibits, including 78 live cartridges and a locally fabricated short gun.

When a search warrant was also executed at his residence, it was learnt that a Magnum Pump action rifle, one double barrel short gun, one locally fabricated double barrel pistol, stunt pistol shocker, an unregistered silver colour Toyota Camry, Green colour Toyota Sienna Bus KNN 58 TD OGUN, a liquid chemical, a black beret with insigna of Aiye confraternity, cannabis, hard drugs, ATM card, power bank, 2 Apple wrist watches, 2 cell phones and charms were picked up by the police as exhibits.

The police also stated that he has made confessional statement which fingered police inspector named Ola whom Akeem identified as the supplier of the guns.

My story, by Akeem

Akeem, the VGN member, claims he hails from Ilugun Asalu, in Abeokuta,, where he had his primary and secondary education. He also claimed he was a part time student of Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Annex, Ilaro but dropped out due to lack of finance. He said he then worked at Abeokuta North Local Government, Akomoje, in Abeokuta, but moved to Berger in Lagos where he was managing a beer parlour.

“My older brother later decided that we should move to Ososa Town to farm. We were growing red peppers and doing some irrigation work. When the farm collapsed, I went into hatching fishes, planting okra and selling fingerlings. Thereafter, I began selling pepper soup, jollof rice, noodles and eggs at a beer parlour within the neighbourhood and also operated a movie viewing centre to provide entertainment service for the beer parlour. Things were going on fine then. I also got married,” he said.

He disclosed that he had been initiated into cultism by his friends before completing his secondary school education. But he said he quit membership of the Aiye cult after his admission to Abraham Adesanya. However, he said he still reached out to members of the group whenever he was being harassed by rival gang members, especially members of the Eiye cult.” He said he bought a car from the proceeds of his pepper soup business. He said because he experienced so much oppression from cult members from time to time, he had to leave the vicinity.

“I left that area and moved to an area where I rented my own house and established my own beer parlour business, where I also sold pepper soup, noodles, eggs and fruit salads”,” he said.

He said some suspected fraudsters, more popularly called Yahoo Boys, later introduced him to some fraudulent activities, in addition to his business and trading in Bitcoin. He said members of the Eiye cult also traced him to his new location and even destroyed his shop. As a result of the constant harassment, he said he was advised to either join the police or any of the security agencies.

“I decided to join VGN in 2014. I obtained the form for N20,000  in Abeokuta. The day I got the form was the same day the VGN sold a jack knife and a pepper spray to me. It was same day I also bought the shocker that looks like a gun. When I started the security work, I also joined the So-Safe Corps, Agbekoya, and teamed up with three other persons. Four of us began curbing crimes within the community town. In 2017, I bought my first gun from a hunter called Victor who came to hunt with other hunters around the farm I worked. I later discovered that its butt was always shaking whenever I was using it, so I cut it to size. And to ensure that the butt was balanced, I wrapped it with a black cello tape. When I obtained the form, they got to know that there was no VGN at Ososa. So I was made Ososa’s Unit Commandant by the State Commandant named Adedoyin.”

Me and Pastor Ola

Related News

He also spoke on the man he claimed sold him a gun. “I got to know Mr. Olayode Ola through one Opeifa. At that time, he called himself an Inspector and I saved his name on my phone as Inspector Ola. Inspector Ola sold the double-barrelled rifle to me at N200,000 in 2020. Since then I was doing my work, helping the police.

“In 2021, I called Inspector Ola to ask if he had a gun for sale. He said a pump action gun was available and I went to him as usual and bought it for N350,000.”

He said Ola actually told him to get a licence for the gun to avoid any issues with the law enforcement agencies. He said he called Inspector Ola after a month and told him he already got a licence for the gun. He said he obtained the licence for the gun for N100,000 in Abuja through a proxy – a Lagos-based hunter.

He informed the Police during his interrogation: “I was then working with both DPOs at Ososa and Odogbolu. Whenever I had jobs, I would take it to Obalende at times. There was a time we arrested a rapist which we brought to Eleweran Police Headquarters, and also arrested five elderly persons beheading their victims. “ He claimed his ordeal began on Thursday August 10 at about 11:00p.m when he was drinking at a beer parlour around the trailers park in Ososa. He said he was having a good time, having recently bought a Toyota Camry.

When probed on how much he makes from fraudulent activities, (Yahoo-Yahoo) Akeem said: “If I serve as a middleman, at least, I get millions from the proceeds, because I get paid between 15 and 20 per cent of the deal. Sometimes, I get N800,000 or N1 million or even N2 million.” He said he also makes money from trading in BTC.

“I was arrested on a Thursday, the fourth day I bought my vehicle when I was processing its vehicle licence. I bought the vehicle in Abeokuta for N2, 950,000. I was called by one Mr. Jonathan who owns a beer parlour that a customer was fighting with his salesgirl. The suspected attacker was about running away when I got there, and I asked him why he injured the girl? I also slapped the man and ordered him into my car and drove him directly to Ososa Police Station, where he and the girl were questioned.” He said upon leaving the station, he drove the girl and her boyfriend to a hospital for medical attention. But he said while returning with the salesgirl and her boyfriend, something happened.

“Before I left home, there were 32 cartridges that had been expended three months earlier, that were meant to be refilled that I had kept in a nylon bag in the car. The cartridges had been expended at different occasions, such as at ceremonies at palaces, work duties, and at some occasions where we would normally shoot at least two in the air to scare thieves from invading the event places. We also use the cartridges when we are on night duty, because there are also some houses in Ososa that I watch over and get paid and which I use the money to pay about 10 workers of my security team. The expended cartridges were in the nylon bag with the intention of giving them to some hunters who usually do refill. The cut-to-size gun was beside it and four extra cartridges which I usually keep with myself for personal protection. As I finished from the hospital around 11:40p.m, I was returning the girl. As I drove to the junction where they alighted from my vehicle and beamed my headlamps, I saw a Sienna parked ahead and I drove into a road where I parked so that I could identify who the occupants were. Four torches were switched on and beamed towards my direction and I immediately drove into the road where those I dropped were headed, in order to link another road. Then I came down from my vehicle and walked backwards. By the time I had walked to a place where some area boys were seated, they told me the people were policemen. By the time I walked to my car, the police had opened my vehicle’s door and boot. As I was explaining to the officers that I was the owner of the car, they started beating me and they took me to the Area Commander. I told them I ran to the bush because I was scared because I didn’t know if those in the Sienna ahead of me were either armed robbers or Police. Not quite long the DPO at Obalende came in and revealed that there was robbery on the expressway, and I said that I don’t know anything about it. In fact, the police arrested the girl I rescued on that day. We were all taken to Obalende Police station, while the next day, Mr. Jonathan came to inform the police that he was the one who called me to intervene in a fight on the day of my arrest. Yet the police accused me of engaging in robbery on the highway, but I denied the allegation.

“From there, I was taken home for a search and the police recovered all the guns I had bought and other items.” The suspect also explained that he did not inform security agencies he had worked with that he was involved in cultism before joining them.

Why, how I sold guns to Akeem, by pastor

Pastor Ola, who described himself as a spy police officer, was fingered by Akeem as the “Inspector” Ola who sold him some guns to him.

The man from Ikole Ekiti, Ekiti State narrated that he indeed sold his pump action rifle to the suspected armed robber but with necessary caution. He is also begging for mercy.

The pastor, who claimed he dropped out of junior secondary school in his hometown in Ekiti State, told the police: “After school, I came to my mother in Akure and learned driving for a year. I learned how to drive at Opese Garage, and worked for two years in that garage. In 2005, I worked with the former Chairman of Akure South Local Government. In November 25, 1997, I started working as a driver at Redeemed. I was a driver to a senior pastor at the time, but I married in 2008 and stopped working with him. After I returned to Redeemed Camp in 2008, about 10 senior drivers were sent to the Police Training School, Ikeja in 2010, to train us as spy police for three months, where I became a spy police. It was the mission that sent us for the training. I passed out from the training school as a constable, but in 2017, I applied for a refresher course at the Police Training School, Ikeja where I was given the Inspector rank, it was since then I was being called Inspector Ola. I was issued a warrant card and a certificate because I am not a regular policeman. When I went for the refresher course, the mission gave me N50,000, I added N50,000 and a boss I was driving at that time gave me N50,000.

“I was invited by the police on a Wednesday I was preparing to travel to Ibadan with my boss. I was informed that some people were in my house to take my wife to the police station. Upon getting to our Divisional Police station, the Divisional Police Officer asked if I was the Inspector who sold guns to an armed robber, and I replied that I didn’t sell guns to an armed robber. I explained that officials of the VGN bought guns from me, but they were referred to me by one Omooba, a well known person in my area.

“Meanwhile, I had bought my first gun, which was a double-barrelled gun for hunting monkeys, grass cutters and ducks. It was one of the pastors who had helped me to buy the gun from the police, having worked with them as a chaplain. He had helped me to obtain its licence with a number before he handed it to me. I later realised that the gun was heavy and decided to change it. I called Omooba and said since VGN officials work with guns, I should sell it to them. I didn’t know that I should not have transferred the gun in that manner but to return it to the police station or contact the person who helped me to buy it. I called Omooba whom I had known for long. He works as a VGN official at Mowe. Omooba introduced me to Olaifa, his colleague. It was Olaifa who introduced me to Owonikoko. Omooba and Olaifa came to meet me initially at my Ice block factory, in order to inspect the gun. They left, but came back later with Owonikoko and four others. They all came in VGN uniforms. I told them that they must register the gun because the gun has a number. I sold the gun to them for N210,000. The following week, I was called and told that the gun had been licensed and I didn’t know anything since 2020. After that time, I added some money to the N210,000 and bought a pump action 6 rounds, I bought it for N290,000. The same man whom I bought my first gun from helped me to buy it.

“In February 2021, Owonikoko asked for my number when they came to buy the gun, because he heard people calling me Inspector. He assumed I was a regular policeman, but I am not a regular policeman.  I’m a spy policeman. I called Omooba that Owonikoko called me that their boss needs a pump action and I immediately called that man who assisted me in buying it that I no longer need a gun.”

Asked why he no longer wanted to keep guns, he explained:  “I don’t want to have anything to do with guns again because I do not have time to hunt animals. That was why when they came back, I offered the gun to them at N350,000 but N340,000 was paid. I started as a driver at the camp in 1997. I was ordained in 2014 as a Deacon. In 2019, I was ordained as an Assistant Pastor. But this year at the just concluded convention, I was ordained as a pastor. I am a part-time pastor.” Begging the government for his predicament, Ola said: ”Government should show me mercy because if I had known, I would not have done it that way.”

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Alamutu Abiodun Mustapha, has ordered that his men should go after the remaining suspects, while investigation continues on the involvement of Pastor Ola and Akeem Owonikoko in robberies and other criminal activities.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x