Magnus Eze, Abuja JOHESU: The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has dismissed the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) as an illegal body that should not be accorded any recognition by Nigerians. It said the threat by JOHESU to commence indefinite strike by midnight, on Wednesday, was uncalled for because their demands were driven by envy. NMA…
- Shocking details of how teenager raided official quarters in Enugu, Imo, Delta and Benue
- How I robbed Okorocha’s daughter –Suspect
By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
“Please employ me as a spy”, Emeka, the self-confessed teenage thief pleaded with detectives. Emeka who turned 18 in July told the police that he had in the last two years raided various houses in Government Residential Areas (GRA) in Enugu, Imo, Delta and Benue States.
He was arrested by detectives attached to the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) weeks after he raided the house of the Chief of Staff to Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the Imo State governor,Uche Nwosu, who is also married to the daughter of Governor Okorocha, Uloma.
On his arrest, police sources said that the Nwosu family lodged a complaint that their house was raided while they were sleeping in the night of October 6. Nwosu who lives at Commissioners Quarters, Concord Road, New Owerri Road alleged that several valuable items were stolen including two iPhones which belong to his wife, Uloma.
Through intelligence gathering, detectives supervised by ACP Abba Kyari were able to track Emeka to Benue State. Luckily, he was still in possession of one of the iPhones, which he had converted to his personal use.
During interrogation, he confessed to have robbed several high profile homes across many states. He took policemen to his victims’ houses in all the states including the house of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi in Asaba, Delta state.
It was gathered that after the raid by Emeka, the four mobile policemen who were on duty in the house of Nwosu that day were arrested and detained. They were, however, released when Emeka was arrested.
“We have recovered not less than 80 Android phones and other types of exotic phones. We also found with him the sum of N400,000 and about 118 dollars which were proceeds from some of the successful raids. There are so many phones that were recovered which he cannot trace the owners.”
The making of a thief
According to Emeka who speaks English fluently, he was forced to drop out of school while in Junior Secondary School because of his parents inability to provide for the family.
“My name is Emeka Ezeonyi and I am from Aguata in Anambra State. I am the third in a family of eight children. Life was very difficult that feeding was a problem. There was no money to pay school fees, so I dropped out of Community Secondary School, Amanze after JSS2 at the age of 14. I was forced to join my mother who is a petty trader to sell her wares. Sometimes, she will give me part of her wares to go around the market and hawk. I was not satisfied with that life, so I started making plans to leave.
“One of my friends who is based in Makurdi told me that I can come over and hustle over there. He assured me that there were opportunities.
I started planning how to relocate without the knowledge of anyone. I started convincing my mother that I am reliable, that she could trust me with her wares.
After two years when I was ready to move, I encouraged her to allow me to take her wares to the market alone while she takes a break for the day. Luckily she agreed.
I was also lucky that a lot of people bought things that day. As soon as I got enough, I ran away with the money and joined a truck going to Makurdi. I paid N1,000 for that trip. I dropped a message for my mother asking her to forgive me, that I decided to run away to go take care of my future.”
On getting to Makurdi, Emeka who had no location in mind quickly joined the local boys to hang around motor parks at night and during the day search for daily jobs. “I was determined to survive, so the little money left with me. I used to buy bags of pure water and resell. It was not giving me much money, so the friends that I met in the motor parks at Wurukum town in Makurdi advised me to join them to pick and resell metals.
“Initially , we used to visit dumpsites and I was making good money from the much I was able to pick. Since we knew the worth of those metals, we made use of any opportunity even if the metal was found in someone’s compound. It was during one of our outings that we saw a fallen high tension wire, we quickly cut it off and was about to escape when residents who saw us started screaming.”
Journey to prison
According to Emeka, policemen who saw when the residents were beating them eventually saved them. “They saved us and took us to the police station. Days later , we were taken to court and the magistrate sentenced us to two years in a Remand Home in Gboko. We were sent to children prison because all of us were less than 18 years.
“There were so many bad boys in the prison and they taught me how to break into houses with ease. They taught me how to use strong stick to break an iron. It was very easy. They also told me that best people to rob are the rich because in the area where they live, they do not expect anyone to come there except heavily armed robbers. I asked them why they have not escaped from prison and they said that they were waiting for an opportunity.
“Luckily , three weeks after I was sent to the Remand Home, there was a riot. While the prison masters were busy trying to control the riot from going bloody, we took advantage of the opportunity and opened the back gate and fled. I had no money, so I joined one big truck carrying yam to Enugu. I simply helped them to load the truck in exchange for free ride to Enugu. That was how I fled”
Homeless and without a penny, Emeka decided to put into use the new skills he learnt in prison. “My first attempt was at GRA , Enugu. It was when police caught me that I knew that it was the house of a medical doctor. I simply jumped in through the fence and observed that the Hausa security guard was fast asleep. I also made sure that there was no dog in the compound. Through the backyard, I broke the burglary proof with the wood that I had with me.
I entered the house and everyone was asleep. I took his phones, laptop and little cash that I found in his wallet. I checked the other rooms and took all the phones that I saw there. I took the phones and laptops to Onitsha and sold them all for N33, 000.
“Days later, I went back to that area and entered one of the hotels. The security men including the civil defence and mobile policemen were all sleeping. I broke the burglary and entered. I moved from one room to another and picked all their phones and cash till one of them woke up and screamed. I ran away with all I got. The next day I relocated to Owerri where I sold all the phones that I picked from the hotel.”
Excited that his new found hobby was giving him enough money, Emeka decided to explore Owerri. “Just like they told me in prison , it was very easy to break into big men’s quarters because they are not expecting people like us. They are waiting for heavily armed robbers to attack them.
“In Owerri, I traced the commissioners’ quarters and observed how the setting was. At night, I visited and jumpbed into one of the big houses. The two mobile policemen there were sleeping and there was no dog in the compound. I entered through the window, and searched all the rooms. Luckily, the one I got from the madam’s room was not locked. It was the latest iPhone. I took it and snapped photo in their house. I took the photo so that if anyone sees me with the phone, I will show them the pictures. They will assume that it is my father’s house. I decided to reserve that phone for my personal use.
“I never knew that the woman in that room is the daughter of Governor Okorocha. It was when the police arrested me and asked me to show them the houses that I entered that I was told that it belongs to the daughter of the governor.”
He admitted to have raided several houses at the GRA in Owerri before he decided to relocate to Delta State. “I successfully entered about 10 houses and because it was becoming common, I decided to move over to Asaba in Delta State. I also went to the Government House area and raided some of the houses. I was shocked when police told me that the first house that I entered in Asaba belongs to a serving senator.
“I just discovered that the building is beautiful, so I scaled the fence at about 1am. The policemen on duty were fast asleep and even if I wanted to take their AK47 rifle, they will not know. I climbed into the house through the window on the first floor. It was easy because there was no burglary proof on the window. Some of the people in the house were awake watching movie while others were sleeping. I am usually very careful, so they will not know that I am in the house. I took their phones while they were watching film. I also entered the other rooms and ransacked. I got dollars from the master’s bedroom before I left the house 40 minutes later.
“ Days later, I went back to the area in Asaba and raided more beautiful houses. What I normally do is to move into as many houses that I can before they alert the local vigilantes to start looking for me. After some days of successful operations, I will travelled to Onitsha to sell the phones, laptops and jewelry before relocating to another state.”
Back in Benue, Emeka also took the police to several houses that he also raided including the personal house of one of the former governors of Benue State. “I have lost count of the houses that I broke into in the last two years. I had rented and furnished two bedroom flat at Zaki Ibiam in Benue State. I was relaxing at home when policemen arrested me. I was shocked because I do not know how they got to know that I was the one who raided the big houses in Owerri.”
Plea for mercy
Begging for mercy, Emeka who had helped the police to recover some of the phones promised to turn a new leaf. “All I need is help. I am ready to go back to school or become a spy for government. Federal Government should please employ me, so that I can work as a spy. I can enter anywhere easily no matter the security gadgets that they use to secure the doors. Please, Nigerians should forgive me and give me a second chance. I want to study and become an engineer. Sending me to prison will make my life worse. I learnt how to steal while in children prison, Gboko, you can imagine what I will learn in a prison where adults who are professional thieves are.”
I knew the phones were stolen-Buyer
One of his customers identified as Ugochukwu Nwali said that he knew that all the phones brought for sale by Emeka were stolen. “I am a phone repair technician from Ebonyi State and some of these boys used to approach us with expensive phones which they either want to unlock or sell. They are always willing to give it out at any price. I have bought about 10 phones from him before police arrested me.”