A teenager, Olayinka Akeem, caught with seven human skulls, told journalists yesterday in Ilorin, Kwara State that he wanted to use the items for a charm to ward off evil. Akeem, who claimed he was a herbalist, said the skulls, exhumed on Tuesday, were instruments to help his trade.
The suspect, who appeared unruffled while displaying his ‘wares’ at the state Police Command Headquarters in Ilorin, was nabbed by policemen about 5a.m. on Ajase-Ipo Road.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ado Lawan, who paraded the suspect, said Akeem was caught with a bag containing the seven human skulls and told interrogators they were exhumed from a Muslim Cemetery at Igbo Owu for ritual purposes.
The police boss said a man identified as Tunde aka Bante, who allegedly aided the suspect, was now at large and was being hunted by the police. Akeem confirmed that his accomplice, a native of the community, aided the operation In another development, the police also arrested a sergeant with the Nigerian Army, Solomon Abel, along with four others for stealing a Land Rover ‘Jeep’ from the Minister of State for Niger Delta, Professor Claudius Daramola, at his Ilorin home.
The other suspects are Dedeigbo Olabiyi, Raymond Anyam, Sunday Shakede and Kingsley Chijoke. Abel, who claimed to be serving at the 143 Battalion, Minakra in Adamawa State, said he was lured by his friend, Olabiyi, a former driver with the minister, to come and do ‘escort service’ for a car not knowing it was stolen.
The car was registered as IWA 01 and the incident occurred on November 21, according to the police. It was learnt that Olabiyi had earlier connived with a house help in the minister’s employee to steal N4.5 million from their employer.
Olabiyi confirmed the story himself but said the money was later recovered from the house help. It was the incident that made Daramola to fire him, he said, after serving two years on the job.
While he claimed his group’s intention was not to steal the car, the police said the five suspects had confessed to being members of an inter-state armed robbery gang.
The police said the gang had stormed the minister’s house located in Tanke area of the metropolis and took the car. The suspects were said to have been later flagged down by a security operatives on Ajase-Ipo Road where their identities were discovered.
In his own account, Olabiyi said: “It’s not that we really wanted to steal car. I was passing through some little challenges and when I discussed with one of my friends he told me that maybe he could escort me to the minister’s house to beg him. “He said so far the Vice President would be coming to town maybe the man would be around.
I was in a hotel when the man came in with a car and I was surprised and I asked what was going on, he said ‘get in, get in…’ I was not myself because that was not my kind of thing. That was when these people came and got us. “I was working with the minister.
Because the house help and I offended him, he sent us away. I have been trying to beg him because my car is with him. I worked with him for two years. They recovered the N4.5 million from the house help.” The police said the suspects would soon be arraigned.