Some armed robbers on Thursday unleashed terror on residents of four streets in the Mowe, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Punch Metro learnt that the men looted homes and tortured residents, as they operated unfettered for over three hours on Olanipekun Omowunmi, Olajide, Moshalashi and Olopomeji streets.
Punch correspondent learnt that the men went away with a Toyota Corolla, television sets, phones, and hundreds of thousands of naira.
During a visit to the community, Punch correspondent observed that the hoodlums broke into most of the houses after patiently breaking down the burglar-proof bars with hammers.
A driver in a paint company, Matthew Otuada, who lives on Olanipekun Omowunmi Street, said the assailants entered his house around 1.03am.
He noted that the men went away with three phones, a television set and N20,000.
He said, “Around 1.03am, I observed some strange movements in the compound and I told my wife there was a problem. We both went out to see what was happening. Immediately we opened the gate, we saw some youths talking and I shouted, ‘So, you are the ones disturbing us?’
“One of them said, ‘Shoot him, get him’. I realised they were robbers and ran into my house while raising the alarm to alert my neighbours. They fired a shot, but I was not hit. They chased me and my wife into the house.
“As I got in, I went inside the bedroom and hid. I was listening to their conversation with my wife, who was in the living room, as they shouted at her, demanding money. My wife said there was no money and called their bluff.
“After they left, I asked her what happened and she said they took away all the phones in the house. They spent about two hours in the compound. If I had assistance I would have fought them to the end. I am a Urhobo man and if my son did not take away the cutlass in the house, I would have withstood them. I wouldn’t have killed anyone, but I would have, at least, chopped off an arm.”
Matthew’s wife, Endurance, said she argued with the robbers because she believed that they had only wooden toy guns and fireworks.
“I dared them to shoot me. One of them started removing the plasma television from the wall and I screamed, ‘Thief, thief’. They took away the television, two phones and the N20,000 my husband kept on the shelf,” she added.
Another resident, Mrs. Regina Sule, said she was sleeping when she heard a noise.
She said her daughter informed her of the presence of the robbers and she (Regina) suggested they pray.
“I didn’t know they had surrounded my house already. They beamed a torch on the parlour and ordered we open the door. I shouted Jesus and ran with my children into the bedroom.
“We thought there was no way they could break the burglar-proof bars. But within seconds, the burglar-proof bars fell to their hammers. They entered the house and demanded our valuables. They took away my tablet phone, my daughter’s phone and my husband’s phone. They ransacked everywhere, looking for money. They tried to remove the generator from the cage, but when it was difficult, they dropped the idea,” she said.
Her husband, Ojonofu, added that the robbers also stole the television in the house and some money.
Another resident, Kolawole Ayodeji, said the robbers beat him up after collecting N56,000 from him.
“They took four phones, my driving licence, a cable TV decoder, and an Automated Teller Machine card. They took the key to my company’s brand new car, after beating me to a pulp. They wanted to take the car away and I handed over a bunch of keys to the house gate to them. They, however, couldn’t open the gate and threw the car key away in frustration,” he added.
But Mr. Teslim Oladipo, an electrical engineer on Olajide Street was not lucky as the robbers made away with his Toyota Corolla after battering him.
Oladipo said the hoodlums entered his compound around 2.30am, adding that they spent about 45 minutes before leaving.
“My children were not around. I told my wife that robbers were around and we ran into the innermost part of the house, hoping they would not break in. From where we were, we shouted for help, but nobody responded.
“They forced their way in after stretching the burglar-proof bars. They broke down the door to the room where we were hiding. They drew me to the sitting room and asked me to open my wardrobe. They ransacked everywhere, looking for money.
“They covered my face with clothes, stamped on me, and used the butt of their gun to hit my head. They said they would not leave without any money. They took away new clothes in my ward robe, N70,000, three phones, and my Toyota Corolla. My wife and I are visibly shaken by this,” he said.
On Moshalashi Street, the robbers were said to have pointed a gun at a woman and her baby and ordered that she released all the valuables in the house to them.
The woman was reported to have parted with an undisclosed sum of money, phones, among other property.
A woman, however, told Punch correspondent that the robbers could not enter her house because her husband held a cutlass.
“As they tried to break the burglar-proof window bars, my husband dared them to come in. He said he would cut off their heads. They left us alone,” she said.
Punch Metro observed that many of the streets did not have security guards, a situation which exposed them to recurring robbery attacks.
Punch correspondent, who visited the Mowe Police Station where some of the residents reported the case, observed as they lamented their fate and urged the police to find the robbers.
It was learnt that some of the assailants had already been identified by some residents, who had given police information on their hideouts.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the incident, adding that two of the suspects had been arrested.
He said, “We recovered arms and ammunition from them. New clothes, a stolen car, among other items, were also recovered from them.”