When Lawrence Anini, the Edo State born kingpin and arguably Nigeria’s most talked about bandit of the 80s, was at the peak of his reign, little did he know that several years later, a successor would take up the mantle and dwarf anything he ever did.
Up came 36-years-old Abiodun Egunjobi, alias Godogodo, who rose from being a slum boy to the leader of a gang that defied all reasons, struck with precision, killed without mercy and terrorised Lagos and the south west with reckless abandon.
Before his arrest on August 1, 2013, Godogodo, also known as the one-eyed assassin, gave the Lagos State Police Command so much headache for 14 years, so much so that on the day he was arrested, the command erupted in joy: at least its men would be safe from his guns.
Originally from Ogun State, Egunjobi was on the wanted list of the police for over 10 years and the way he managed to evade the police is still legendary. In fact, he was at a time, on the top of the Most Wanted list of the Command with several Police Commissioners assigning the toughest of cops on his trail.
At that time, any robbery in Lagos had the imprint of Godogodo, with him leading or one of his boys being responsible. He was famed for leading many robbery operations, especially on banks, with the infamous reputation of killing over 100 policemen in Lagos State.
See how police officers jubilated Godogodo’s capture.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga6Nk4fdjCE Video credit: Channels TV
Godogodo allegedly went for operations with a bag containing 10 fully loaded AK 47 rifles with 30 rounds of ammunition each and as such, he was fully prepared in terms of weapons on his back.
It was gathered that Godogodo used to tell his gang members that he would never be arrested alive and had vowed to go down with as many policemen as possible on the day he is unable to escape arrest.
This vow was later found to be real, as anti-robbery detectives recovered several loaded AK47s, each with 60 rounds of live ammunition, from different parts of his residence, including the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, sitting room on the day of his arrest.
He was so good at disguising his criminal activities that even his wife and family members never knew what he was into. He had six houses in different locations including Lagos, Ogun and Ondo States, and never stayed in a particular location for more than a month.
He had over 52 fish ponds and passed for a successful businessman, respected by all. he never drank, smoked, womanised nor socialised, portraying himself as a very responsible family man, but deep down, he was as deadly as a mamba.
In the beginning
Godogodo began his voyage into the deadly world of crime after spending seven years in prison for what he considered a minor offence. As a scrap dealer in the slum of Gatankowa, Abule-Egba, he was involved in a fight and the police arrested him. With no one to bail him out, Godogodo was sent to jail and in his mind, he believed his going to prison was an injustice and blamed the police for it.
While in prison, he became acquainted with more deadly armed robbers and formed an alliance with them and took time to understudy them. When he finally left prison, he decided that he was going to deal with the police for sending him to prison for seven years.
As a precursor to actualising his decision, he took some time to study the psyche of an average policeman and used the result to build an effective strategy that helped him evade arrest for so long. This also made it possible for him to maintain an air of invincibility among his gang members. Many of them believed he had magical powers that enabled him disappear whenever he wanted.
During his interrogation, Godogodo told the police that he took only raw cash during his operations and would only attack a place he knew there would be enough cash to cart away. He also said he doesn’t have any bank account as he invested all his money in property immediately after each operation.
Reign of terror
Abbey Godogodo visited many Lagosians with sorrow, tears and blood. Many would not forget Sunday, September 9, 2012, when he and his gang terrorised the state and left indelible marks in the minds of many families, after he led a coordinated attack in the city where many innocent people including policemen lost their lives.
He revealed how he coordinated the bloody operation and gave chilling details of how he led members of his gang to cart away millions of dollars from bureau de change operators in Agege and Gbagada areas of Lagos.
According to Godogodo:
“On that fateful day, I called one of my boys, Sayeed Omolopa, to meet me at Alfa Beach in Ajah, and some other boys led by Kasali and Ejike. They were about seven and my boys were five. Yemi Boss, who came with Ejike, said we should go to Agege and rob some bureau de change operators.
The agreement was that everyone will get what he lays his hands on. We used two vehicles and over nine AK-47 rifles. When we got to Agege, some bureau de change operators that saw us ran to us thinking we wanted to change money and we opened fire on them and ran into their shops to pack all the money we found.
In fact, we robbed from shop to shop and we also shot sporadically to scare people. We shot at people who tried to block the road and prevent us from moving.
I can’t count the number of people killed in that operation. Wherever people tried to block the road, we opened fire on them. The boys that went with me for that job were notorious, they were difficult to control but they all feared me.
We made a lot of money from the operation. While we were trying to escape, we met a team of policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, and we thought they were after us.
On approaching them, we opened fire on the van and killed all the police in it and collected their rifles and escaped through Lagos-Abekuta road. Money was not shared after the operation because everyone took whatever he was able to grab.
When I got home I realised that I made over N500,000, but some days later, I was informed that one of my boys, Tosin, made over N6 million from the operation.
Everybody made a lot of money from the operation. I didn’t border to read the newspapers the next day to know the extent of damage but I knew many people lost their lives in that operation.
You know, as robbers, we do not go for operations to kill but we kill when we don’t have option.
On our way, we spotted some policemen at Oko-Oba police station, they didn’t know that we were robbers. We killed them before collecting their rifles.
Some few months later, we snatched a white Range Rover Sport in Ikeja and two of the occupants escaped with their phones.
We suspected that they were going to call the police. On arriving Agidingbi Road, we spotted two RRS men on a motorbike and we thought they were coming after us. We slowed down, by the time they got very close to us, I opened the window and fired rapid shots at them, they fell into the gutter with their motorbike and I sent my boys to get their rifles before we drove off.
When we got to Coca-Cola junction, there was serious traffic and we decided to make a turn. When we got to the spot where the policemen fell, we saw some people who were trying to help them and my boys opened fire on them again.
We managed to make our way to Medical Road, close to Computer Village, but by then, the policemen there had received message of our operations and the moment they sighted us, they opened fire and damaged our tyres.
We managed the tyres up to Capitol Road. There was traffic and I came out of my vehicle to clear the traffic and there was this Toyota Camry following us.
I didn’t know that there was an armed mobile policeman in it. When I returned I discovered that Kasali was struggling with the mobile policeman who was carrying a rifle.
I fired some shots at the policeman. He attempted to run away, I chased him and killed him on the spot before picking his rifle. We snatched another vehicle and abandoned the Range Rover Sport before we escaped.”
Such was his his ferocious reign of terror.
The Lagos State Police Command led by the then Commissioner, Umar Manko, mandated the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), led by Superintendent of Police, Abba Kyari, to bring an end to the reign of Abbey Godogodo and that began intensive investigations which led to the capitulation of his empire.
Manko was given direct orders by the then Inspector General of Police to make sure the Godogodo phenomenon was quashed at all all cost.
After the gang attacked the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, where two police inspectors and more than five people were killed and over N100 million stolen, the police decided to focus on profiling the suspect, because, up to that point, no one knew anything about him or what he looked like. The police also began looking at the possibility of preempting his subsequent operations.
The detectives got a lucky break when a robbery, which fitted into the established modus operandi of Godogodo’s gang, was reported at a branch of First Bank in Ilorin, Kwara State and on obtaining the close circuit television recording of the operation, his image was then known.
Also, most of his gang members arrested were shown the video and they all agreed that the man in it was indeed the One-Eyed bandit and that brought the police a few steps closer to their target.
The investigation led the police to Dubai where he went often to buy goods for his boutique, all in a bid to get their man.
The CP spoke of their break through:
“After we located his house in Ibadan, we mounted surveillance around the house for 14 days, before we finally struck and got him. Most of his colleagues that we had arrested would tell us that the man had the powers to disappear.
He also used to tell them that anytime it became clear that he was going to be arrested, it was his dead body that the police would pick. And before he was killed, he would kill as many policemen as he could. So, we were very conscious of that warning.
The operation took us about seven months before we finally got him that early morning. Even, on that day, after we had identified the house, policemen waited there for more than 11 hours.
We didn’t go in and nobody came out of the place. But we remained patient and continued to consider our options carefully until he eventually came out. And to prove the point of what he used to tell his colleagues, we recovered six AK47 rifles in his kitchen, his bedroom, and toilets, everywhere.
And each rifle had double magazines attached to it; which means that in each rifle, he had about 60 rounds of live ammunition.”
Watch the videos of Abiodun ‘Godogodo’ Egunjobi’s confessions here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZNx1hsnpCQ Video credit: Crime Fighters