Luck ran out on a dismissed policeman, Usman Zubairu, when he was apprehended for allegedly stealing motorcycles from unsuspecting riders in Lagos.
Hope For Nigeria gathered that the man, who was dismissed from service in 2014, operated under the guise of being an active policeman to deceive his victims.
It was learnt that Zubairu met his Waterloo while he was about to play the same trick on a motorcyclist.
One of the victims, Chinda Ayuba, said he agreed to release his motorcycle to Zubairu because he believed that he was a policeman.
He stated, “A man stopped my motorcycle and introduced himself as a policeman. He told me to take him to Ijora from the Maroko area of Lagos, and I told him that I could not go there. He begged me to help him and promised that no policeman would arrest me.
“While on our way, he saw two boys and asked me to stop. He asked the boys what happened and they explained that some policemen had seized their motorcycles. He asked the boys to give him N1,000 each in order to assist them to get their motorcycles back. He then collected my motorcycle and asked me to wait with the two boys. I waited till sunset but he did not come back with my motorcycle.”
Another victim, Abdulmalik Isah, said Zubairu identified himself as a mobile policeman and took him to the Maroko Police Station where his motorcycle was stolen.
The 26-year-old stated, “He claimed to be a mobile policeman and made me to take him to the Maroko Police Station. On getting there, he asked me to follow him inside, which I did.
“He told me to wait for him at the station that he wanted to buy something outside. After some time, I decided to come out to check my motorcycle and I could not find it where it was parked. I waited from 2pm till 6pm before I made a report at the police station.”
Isah added that Zubairu was apprehended and handed over to the police when he tried to steal another motorcycle from a rider in his area.
The Adamawa State indigene, however, said he went into stealing as a means of livelihood after he was dismissed from the police force.
The suspect stated, “I was recruited to the Nigeria Police Force in 2001 and I was later mobilised to the Mopol 9 Squadron in Kano State. In 2014, I killed a man while on duty and I was dismissed. I was charged to court for murder and while I was awaiting trial in prison, the family of the deceased decided to withdraw the case from the court in 2017.
“I came to Lagos in August 2018 and because I didn’t have a means of livelihood, I started stealing and re-selling motorcycles.
“I have stolen about four motorcycles and I sell the motorcycles to one Yerima at Tin Can, Apapa, Lagos. I only get to see Yerima between 3.30am and 4.30am, because he is always on night duty.”
Zubairu was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court on two counts of stealing.
The police prosecutor, Michael Unah, said the offences contravened Section 280 and was punishable under Section 287(5)(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The charges read, “That you, Usman Zubairu, sometime in September 2018, at Ketu area of Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did steal one Bajaj motorcycle valued at N220,000, property of one Chinda Ayuba.
“That you, Usman Zubairu, on October 10, 2018, around 4pm at the Bar Beach area of Lagos State, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did steal one Bajaj motorcycle valued at N215,000, property of one Abdulmalik Isah.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The presiding magistrate, Mr A. A. Fashola, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N80,000 with two sureties in like sum.
Fashola said the sureties must be gainfully employed with evidence of three years tax payment to the Lagos State Government and have their addresses verified by the court.
He added that the sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and adjourned the case till February 18, 2019.