How we planned ‘failed’ heist in 6 days, Abuja bank robbers reveal
An attempt by the suspects to rob the bank on Saturday, December 28 was foiled by a combined team of the Police, the Army and the Department of State Security (DSS) who arrived in the area just when the robbers had made their way in.
They were paraded on Tuesday at the Headquarters of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command.
One of the suspects, Prince Obinna who is a professional photographer, narrated how he was brought into the deal by a bartender who works at a pub.
He alleged that the bartender, one Mr. Ernest who is still at large, asked him to organise his friends who are interested in the heist.
“On December 22, one Mr Ernest who works as a bartender came to me and told me that there is a job somewhere for us to do and he will connect us to the person who works at the bank.
“So he called me and said that Mr Larry Ehizo (bank staff) has arrived and I went to him, he now told us about a deal he wants us to take care of and it won’t make us less than 10-15 minutes; I asked what kind of deal, he said it’s a ‘bank work’ and their bank doesn’t operate on a Saturday, but if we can manage to come around, he can manage to help us get the money out of there because he and Ernest have worked out things.
“He asked if I can organise some people that will help the team, so I called my friends and they said they were interested.”
Obinna said the meeting was rescheduled and Larry told them everything they needed to know.
On Thursday, they had another meeting where they sat down and made the final plans together.
He said that on Friday, they organised themselves, the arms and ammunition were provided and they mobilised on Saturday to do the job.
He explained that the fifth accomplice (Patrick) who died as a result of gunshot wounds provided the guns on Friday night and they detailed him to stand by the gate because of his height and stature.
Obinna revealed that he had only known his accomplices less than two months prior to the failed heist in December.
The bank’s staff, Ehizo, who allegedly led the robbers to the bank, said he was threatened by the same Mr. Ernest who he said, masterminded the heist.
He also gave his own side of the story, stressing that his life and that of his families were threatened if he failed to heed to the plan.
Mr. Ehizo said he worked with the bank for two years as a customer service officer, and he met Mr. Ernest who is a customer at the bank at a pub where he usually goes to have a bottle of beer.
“I have been working with the bank for over two years; the same Ernest that met them had met me earlier with a lot of threat based on a discussion we had sometime in November which he said he recorded and was going to use against me if I don’t cooperate, I tried to report to the police but he told me that if I do so, his friends will hurt me if he is arrested.
“I took them in, which was the instruction that was given by the said Ernest; he insisted I had a meeting with them and he said that I should bring them in and they will take over from there.”
Mr Ehizo stated that “I have not worked with Ernest, he is a customer in the bank and that was where we got to know because I work in the customer service department and I treat request.
“There is a place I went to drink beer and that is where he works. We were having a conversation about work and all and he was complaining that certain request will be brought to the bank and they don’t treat early and why haven’t we improved our services. So I tried to explain to him that this process takes a long time and it is not the way they look. He now said that it’s not an excuse, maybe these banks need to start touching them.
“I now asked him if he wants to go and rob the bank or get some people to do it or even kill someone to make an impression and that is not the way to go about it; he had this on record that day and after like three weeks, he called me and said that he had gotten people. I begged him that I didn’t tell him I want to rob the bank or he should bring people and he should let the matter be.
“He now came to my house with his friends and threatened me, he described my family house and said that he had traced me to my family house and anything I will do; I should take the outcome like that.
“I was afraid to come to the police because I didn’t know what he was going to do with my family or any other person around me.”
On the day of the robbery, Mr Ehizo alleged that Mr Ernest was opposite the bank, watching their moves from the point they arrived at the bank.
“At the pre-operation meeting, he told me to tell them how to go inside, take them in, show them where the CCTV camera is, where the police officer will be; he even came along that day, but he didn’t come in the same car, he stayed across the bank.
“When we drove in, he called and told me that he just saw us enter and hope it is what we discussed that I am doing, out of fear I told him yes. He said that I should just do as we have agreed. I drove them to the bank as the person instructed me to do.”