A 63-year-old grandmother (name withheld) and two others are cooling their heels at the Central Police Station, Onitsha for allegedly running a syndicate that specialized in stealing people’s wares and cosmetics in Onitsha.
Daily Sun gathered that the grandmother who gave her name as Cecilia (surname withheld), a native of Ohafia, Abia State and two other members of her syndicate were arrested yesterday after they stole a carton of NAN milk at Ose Market in Onitsha.
According to the suspects, they had successfully stolen the carton of milk from a shop and were on their way to their hideout, where they were to share their loot, when a group of youths on motorcycles rounded them up at the Ochanja Market also in Onitsha.
The grandmother stated that she had been a member of the syndicate for eight years after she lost her husband and her beer palour business at Obosi, Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State closed down because of lack of funds.
She, however, denied involvement in yesterday theft, adding, “I was at Ochanja Market, where I met Cecilia, (another suspect), who took me to Ose Market, after a while, we returned to Ochanja with this lady and we sat down to discuss, when a group of boys rounded us up and whisked us to Ose Market, where they used razor blades to shave our hair.”
One of the suspects, who gave her name as Mama Ejima from Amagunze, Enugu State confessed to the crime and said yesterday incident was her first time, as she specialized in stealing palm oil and other consumables.
“Yes I stole a carton of milk from a shop in Ose Market, but it was my first time. I was on my own when a woman we know as ‘Big Lady’ (one of the suspects at large) called me and informed me that there was a business for me at Ose, I went there, beat all security posts and took a carton of NAN milk, the one I could carry. It was when I had succeeded and taken the milk to Ochanja on my way to meet ‘Big Lady’ that the boys arrested me alongside these other women.”
She, however, said she knew the suspect now at large from Enugu, noting that they met again in Anambra State when she came to visit her elder brother, who resides in Ogidi in Idemili North Council Area of the state.
“I was living in Obosi with my husband, but when we left Obosi, my husband eventually died, it was then that we relocated to the village in Enugu State, where I met Big Lady. She introduced me to this business, but I must say the truth, I used to steal palm oil and other consumables, but this one was the first time I am stealing milk with the intention that Big Lady will give me my own share to put in my child’s akamu (pap),” she said.
The Divisional Police Officer, (DPO), Central Police Station, CSP, Mr. Tope Fasugba said prompt intervention of his men saved the suspects from the angry mob that wanted to lynch them and said investigations were ongoing to arrest the fleeing members of the syndicate.