A 17-year-old girl identified simply as Simi has exposed the hiding place of her robber father to the officials of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command.
Her father, Ife, was the alleged leader of a 10-man robbery gang that killed four policemen in Ajah during a robbery operation two weeks ago.
THE PUNCH had reported on January 15, 2012 that the dead policemen were responding to a distress call when they were ambushed by the robbers.
Ironically, it was the love that Ife’s wife, Taiye, had for her daughter that first alerted the police to the existence of the daughter.
On the day that the gang killed the policemen, they left the area in a hurry. In their haste, Ife accidentally dropped his handset.
The police downloaded the numbers on the phone and after a thorough screening, they were able to get the telephone number belonging to Taiye. They subsequently tagged the number.
Meanwhile, Taiye has a frozen food and drinks shop at Sola Arodoye Street, Ijaye, Lagos. A resident in the community told PUNCH Metro that Taye had not been coming to the shop for about two weeks.
She said, “We noticed that she stopped coming to the shop for a while. Even Ife was absent at that period of time. It was Simi who was left to run the shop. Taye had introduced Simi to us as her younger sister. It wasn’t until her arrest last week that we knew that Simi was her daughter.”
Ife and his wife were said to have switched off both their phones and afterwards fled Lagos. But last week Thursday, Taye finally made a call with her phone to check on Simi. She called on one Funke, who lives close to the shop to give the phone to Simi so she could speak with her.
Two hours after that call was made, some SARS operatives traced Funke to her place of work at a nearby school and arrested her.
A police source said, “Funke was interrogated for more than five hours. The SARS operatives thought she was a member of the gang too. Eventually they discovered she knew nothing about Ife except as a neighbour. It was Funke who led the SARS operatives to Taye’s shop at Sola Arodoye street.”
The team then arrested Simi after Funke identified her and took her to Ojokoro Police Division.
For four hours, Simi repeatedly denied knowledge of her parents’ whereabouts. When the police showed no intention of stopping the interrogation, she eventually agreed to cooperate with the SARS team.
The team accompanied the teenager to her parents’ home at Beckley estate, U-turn bus stop at Abule Egba. Ife and Taye had just returned from Abeokuta where they had fled to.
The source said, “Ife tried to escape but was shot in the process. In his wife’s travelling box were hidden two pistols, one AK 47 rifle and a locally made double barrelled gun. Clearly, Taye was aware that Ife was an armed robber.”
One of the residents at Sola Arodoye said they thought that Ife was a worker with a paint manufacturing company.
She said, “Some of us had often wondered what Ife did for a living because he was usually at his wife’s shop all day till she closed at night. Those who dared to ask said Taye had told them Ife worked in his father’s paint company.”
The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ngozi Braide, when contacted said some arrests had been made.
Braide said, “Ife was actually arrested last week. Efforts are being made to apprehend other members of his gang on the run.
“Ife was also involved in a Thermocool robbery in 2011. He has been on the command’s wanted list for years.”