A 28-year-old robbery suspect, Leke Waheed arrested by the Lagos State Police Command has explained how charms “Ibante” he ties around his waist has kept him alive from bullets.
Waheed and his friends were smoking Indian hemp and drinking in a hotel room in Ojuelegba area of Lagos when the police apprehended them.
The police was said to have recovered fetish objects like cowries called “Ibante” in Yoruba.
When Waheed and his gang were paraded before journalists at the Police Command Headquarters in Ikeja during the week, he explained that the “Ibante” was the reason he was still alive.
The police arrested Waheed along with his cohorts after acting on a report of theft of a camera, mobile phone and N10, 000.
Waheed explained that he fought “area wars” for a living.
Recall that over the last few years, Ajah area of Lagos has been rocked by violent clashes between Ajah residents and their Ilaje neighbours.
The violence has led to the death of many, while several others have been arrested and charged to court in connection with the crises.
The suspect disclosed that he participated in all these attacks even though he lives in Ijora, far from the location.
He said they were contracted as foot soldiers to take part in the “war.”
He said the Ibante or waste charm found in his hotel room was his protection anytime they go on a “war.”
He told journalists, “That is what kept me alive till today. I would have died. Many of my group members have died in the past, but I was never hit by a bullet.”
He further confessed to owning two locally made pistols and subsequently took detectives to the house of his group’s armourer, an individual he identified as Bolaji in Ajah area of Lagos.
Waheed said one of the leaders of his group, a man he identified as Ganiyu, AKA Okelemele, bought the guns for N35, 000 each.
He added, “The guns were bought and given to me by Okelemele. He lives on Ali Iwo Street , Ijora.I have been using the guns for the last two years now.
“We were using cutlasses to fight before but we realised that our people were getting killed because the other side already had guns. So, our leaders decided to buy us guns too.
“I have never used the guns to kill anybody but in addition to the Ibante, I feel confident having taken the guns alongwhenever we go to war. I have used the gun five times but I have not used it to kill anybody.
“After we go out to fight, we are not paid directly with money. Our leaders reward us by giving us section of neighbourhoods where we collect street tolls from commercial buses, tricycle and okada riders. But that is only if we successfully chase away our enemies during each operation.”
However, police said the suspects were still being investigated for armed robberies.
The State Police Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni , said the suspects would be charged to court when investigations into their criminal activities is concluded.