A Pastor and the General Overseer of The Way of Joy Church, Ibikunle Olanrewaju John, was one the seven suspects paraded yesterday by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Umaru Manko, over the March 13, 2013 robbery attack at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, in which two policemen were killed.
The same gang of armed robbers was responsible for the February 10, 2012 attack at the airport where about N600 million was carted away. Ibikunle was paraded alongside six others including; Atoba Adeniyi, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Kazeem Aderibigbe, Saheed Adekunle, Christian Joshua and Saheed Okunlo.
Police investigation revealed that he normally provides spiritual support for the suspects and help in keeping their weapons and ammunition.
He was also alleged to have driven the suspects to MMIA during their last operation. Briefing journalists on how the suspects were apprehended, the commissioner of police said following the attack in which two police officers were killed and several innocent others were injured, police officers attached to the special anti-robbery squad swung into action by following up on a document obtained from one of the robbers, Teslim Okunola, who was shot dead by the deceased police officers.
Manko added that; “On March 13, at about 7:30pm, an incident happened, where robbers went to International Airport and killed two policemen. “Those two policemen served at Apapa command.
They went on official engagement and got killed by the bandits who came to rob the international airport. The robbers succeeded in wrecking havoc.
“But before he was killed, one of the policemen fought gallantly, killing one of the robbers. He also made sure that other members of the robbery gang were not able to take his corpse away. It was that corpse that led to the arrest of the gang. “These robbers are not based in Lagos. They’re from Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Ogun.
They also attacked the airport last year, making away with $2 million, valued in Nigerian currency to be N600 million. “All the suspects have confessed to the armed robbery at the airport and several other deadly robberies in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Kwara States.
“The robberies include such as the Oro First Bank/ Union Bank armed robbery in Kwara State in January 2013; First Bank/Wema Bank armed robbery in Ikirun in Osun State on December 2012; and the bullion van armed robbery attack at Odogbolu Junction along Lagos-Ijebu- Ode Expressway in January, 2013
However, in an interview with journalists, Pastor Ibikunle said he has never followed the other suspects to any robbery scene but confessed to knowing that they were armed robbers. He also said he normally prepare the suspects for oath taking.
He said he was given N500, 000 for his effort in the MMIA robbery. Another of the suspects, Ibrahim, who said he was a truck pusher at the international airport, said his function in the gang was to provide them with information as to cash movements within the airport.
He said he joined the gang after he returned from a prison term of three years and was desperately looking for means to start up again.