A 61-year-old blind man, Monday Iruanya, has been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for alleged robbery and stealing tyres valued at about N20m.
His accomplices were identified as John Michael, Charles Chinoso and James Francis.
The police, while parading the suspects on Monday, said a soldier was being trailed for aiding the suspects, adding that 50 suspected Awawa boys had been nabbed.
The command said the tyres were owned by a businessman in Apapa and were valued at about N20m.
The tyres were stolen at a warehouse in Apapa and were being taken to Sagamu, Ogun State, for sale when they were intercepted in Ijebu Ode by policemen, who had been on their trail from Lagos.
It was gathered that Michael, who acted as the owner of the goods, had approached the blind suspect to help him get a waybill so the security agents would not question his ownership of the items.
Iruanya, who police said was released from the Kirikiri Prison for stealing in 2010, was said to have provided the waybill, which listed the stolen items and the destination, after a promise of N100,000 from the proceeds.
Iruanya said he wanted to use the money to treat his eyes, adding that he did not know the tyres were stolen.
He said, “I was a transporter and had many cars. I was arrested in 2010 for stealing some spare parts, but I was later released. I became blind in 2012. My friend, Michael, came to me that he needed a waybill. I got it at Tincan in Apapa and he promised to give me N100,000 to treat my eyes.
“He and I were at Sagamu waiting for the truck to arrive when the police arrested us. I did not know the content of the truck and whether the items were stolen.”
The driver, Francis, said the tarpaulin they used to cover the goods had torn and were trying to replace it when the police swooped on them at Ijebu Ode.
“It was a friend, Peter that invited me to the deal. But he fled at Ijebu Ode while we were looking for a tarpaulin to cover the tyres,” he said.
The truck conductor, 30-year-old Chinoso, confessed to the crime, saying he was promised N150,000.
The 50 suspected Awawa boys, a robbery gang which operated mainly around Agege area of the state, were arrested by Rapid Response Squad. Two of the suspects were female minors.
The police said the suspects were identified through the special tattoos they had in their hands and faces.
However, the suspects, denied membership of the criminal group.
One of them, 15-year-old Kafila, said, “I was hawking satchet water in Oshodi on Saturday when I was arrested by the task force men. I live with my grandma in Oshodi. I am not an Awawa member.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, urged parents to closely monitor the behaviour of their wards and urged the public to promptly report criminal activities around them to the police.