pastor arrested over robbery attack at MMI Airport.

•Dedicates two cars after robbery attack
•Church deserted by members, sealed
•Wife absconds with children

On Tuesday, 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.

The robbers said to have succeeded in carting
away over N10 Million from a Bureau-De -change
operators, went straight to their hideout inside a
bush in Ijebu-Ode, where they shared their loot.
Dedicates cars with members from loot
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
weekes 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. And on Sundays, there
were usually church services.

Towards the end of the month, he treated his
members and friends who came in posh cars to a
party, in celebration of his newly purchased cars. It
was not long that we heard he bought them with
the proceeds from the robbery operation at the
airport. It was after his arrest that I believed the
popular saying that facial appearance is indeed
deceptive”, another resident who earlier declined to
speak on the issue said.
Wife absconded with children
From Crime Guard’s findings, it was discovered
also that when operatives of the Special Anti-
Robbery Squad stormed the clergy’s one-room
apartment located on the same building with the
church, to effect his arrest, his wife was not at
home.

On arrival, she was said to have visited Ikotun,
Ejigbo and Idimu police stations in search for her
husband. She was said to have also raised alarm
that he could have been abducted by men in police
uniform.
But when news of her husband’s alleged
indulgence in criminal activities reached her, she
was said to have been spelled bound.
A family friend to the Ibikunles told Crime Guard
that, “ she came crying to us that some men in
plain clothes came to pick her husband. But when
she discovered the truth at SARSs where we
eventually found him, she broke down. At first she
did not believe the claim, as she thought it could
have been cooked up. But when her husband
confessed to her, she said that was the height she
could take from him.
“More painful according to her, is the fact that she
said she asked her husband where he got the
money with which he bought the cars , only for him
to tell her it was given to him by someone who got
healed of a terminal disease after a deliverance
section with him.”
As at the time Crime Guard visited, Mrs Ibikunle
was nowhere around the church’s premises. But a
neigbour later revealed that she was seen packing
her belongings out of the house, with her children.
The resident could however, not say her
whereabouts. Since the arrest, no church member
had reportedly come to worship there.

I spent 14 hours in the bush waiting for the
gang members—Pastor Ibikunle

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.
Asked if he informed his wife about his mission, he
replied, “ No, I did not. I only told her when leaving
that I was going to pray over night for a ‘big man’
who would not like to come to our area. And when I
came back, I told her the money was given to me
by the ‘big man’”.

I regret my involvement
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 nothing! 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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