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A pastor arrested over robbery attack at MMI Airport


The  Lagos State Police Command paraded seven suspects of a robbery gang that attacked the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos, last month, killed two policemen and injured several others. Among the suspects, was the General Overseer of The way of Joy church located in Egbe, a Lagos suburb. The clergy, identified as  Pastor Ibikunle Olarewaju John, confessed to Crime Guard during the parade, that he administered  an oath of secrecy on the gang members, on the day they attacked the Muritala Mohammed Airport.

Members of the gang discovered to have come all the way  from Kwara, Osun, Ibadan and Ogun states, during interrogation, confessed to have attacked same airport last year, where they carted away  N600 Million.  They also stormed the airport on again on March 13, 2013 at about 7.30 pm.  But this time around, they were reportedly engaged in a gun battle by two policemen attached to Apapa division said to be on  official assignment at the airport. Unfortunately for the policemen, they were gunned down in the process. But before they breathed their last, they managed to kill a member of the gang.

In this interview with Pastor Ibikunle, he disclosed that his share of the loot was N500,000. But investigation carried out by Crime Guard, showed that he might have got more than that.  A suspected member of the gang confirmed Crime Guard’s claim. A further attestation to this claim, was the discovery that Pastor Ibikunle bought two cars  apparently from his share of the loot, two weeks later.

During Crime Guard’s visit to The Way of Joy Church, located on Alliu Street, Egbe, Thursday, it was discovered that the church was built with planks. And locating the church was a difficult task, as there was no sign board. It took Crime Guard  about an hour search to locate it . On closer look , it was discovered that the church had been  sealed. Although, no one agreed to talk about Pastor Ibikunle and the church when approached, apparently for fear of being arrested.

Finally, a man who pleaded anonymity opened up and asked: “Are you a member of the church”? The reporters shook their heads.

He further said, “if you know what is good for you, better leave there before you will get yourself into trouble. The white garment church was sealed last week after the arrest of the Pastor.. Some policemen came last week and arrested him and before we knew it, we started hearing he was a member of a robbery gang. Even , the whole newspapers in Nigeria carried the news two days ago”

Before his arrest, Pastor Ibikunle was said to have dedicated two vehicles ,during which he hosted members of his church and friends to a buffet.

“Although he is an easy- going fellow who by every dint of appearance never exhibited any character  of  a robber. We usually saw people coming in and out of the church on daily basis. And on Sundays, there were usually church services.

Speaking with Crime Guard, Pastor Ibikunle revealed that he spent 14  hours in the gang’s hideout, inside a bush in Ijebu-Ode area of Ogun State, on the day of the robbery attack at the international airport.

Hear him, “Before  that day, one of them, Asiwaju, said I should come and administer an oat of secrecy on members of his gang. I invited them to come to my church but they said they would not want to arouse  suspicion. At the end, I went to Ijebu-Ode.  I waited at a designated point before a member of the gang came and took me to their hideout inside the bush.

I administered the oath on them  about 1pm. You will not understand if I start explaining because it is a spiritual thing. I said some incantation into a horn and added some other things.

I waited there until they came back around 11.30pm., before leaving next day, with N500,000. I was instructed not to tell any one about what transpired. I swore, that is all my involvement. I never followed them to rob”, he said.

In an emotional laden voice, Pastor Ibikunle looked at Crime Guard , battling hard not to betray his emotion, “ Am I going to die? He asked with a tear filled eyes. Ah! He exclaimed. I would have remained in my cubicle as a poor man than heeding the advice of the gang. Now, I am left without anything! My condition is even worse.

“I’m appealing to every member of my church  to forgive me for embarrassing them. This is the devil’s handiwork. I can not even face members of my family now…” the 37 year-old father of two paused and bent his head, refusing to speak any further.

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