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I had taken time to study,planning Abuja bank robbery in October – Bank customer care officer

A customer care officer of a first generation bank , which was attacked by armed robbers last Saturday , Larry Ehizo , has stated that he began planning how to carry out the operation in October 2019.

Ehizo , who recanted his earlier claim that a barman , Ernest Ewim , blackmailed him into carrying out the attempted heist , said he started nursing the idea having monitored the security system and the processes in the bank .

The customer care officer said , “Everything Ewim said is true; he didn’ t threaten me .

I willingly collected his number and I called him and he said I should give him a few days .

“ When I called him , I simply told him how they would go in , where they would see the riot policeman guarding the bank and how to disconnect the CCTV .

On Friday night during our meeting , we had issues with getting a driver . ”

When asked the motive for the crime , Ehizo simply stated , “ I was just greedy ; I thought it was something simple that I could just pull off .

I had taken time to study everything ; I started thinking about it since October .

“ Maybe, because I work inside , I felt I could take the money .

So , I gradually mapped out where the CCTV is , where the police officer stays, his movement , how people are stationed over the weekend and how the ATM functions over the weekend . I took time to map it out for over a month. ”

The Federal Capital Territory Police Command had arrested the sixth member of the gang , Ewim , at his hideout on Wednesday.

Wearing dreadlocks and dressed in a light blue denim jacket and matching blue jeans , the suspect sustained injuries in his legs .

Blood oozed out of his right ear as he spoke in Abuja on Thursday .

The police had earlier gunned down a member of the gang , identified as Patrick , and arrested four others during the failed operation .

The FCT Commissioner of Police , Bala Ciroma , had on Tuesday paraded four gang members including Ehizo , 30 , as well as Timothy Joe , 21 ; Princewill Obinna , 24; and Elijah David, 19.

Ewim , who doubles as a barman and disc jockey at the Ever Ready Hotel , Mpape , explained that he organised the gang that carried out the foiled heist at Ehizo’ s request .

Narrating how he became involved in the attempted robbery, the 29 – year – old said he met Ehizo at the customer care desk of the bank when he was having issues with his account .

He explained that after addressing his complaints , the bank official took his phone number and called him two days later , promising to give him a job .

Ewim stated , “ After two days , I received a call from Ehizo , who identified himself and said he had a job for me .

Two days later , he called back and said he would like to see me .

“ He said he wanted to attack the bank branches in Mpape and Mararaba .

I said I was not a robber .

He asked if I could provide boys for him , so I told Obinna , a photographer , about it because I learnt that he was very stubborn and could fight . ”

Ewim added that they met again on the eve of the robbery and discussed the strategy for the operation .

He added , “On Saturday , when they were going for the robbery, Ehizo called and asked if I knew how to drive , but I said no.

He asked me to get a driver for him , so I introduced him to a motorcyclist , who can also drive .

“ I told the motorcyclist to wait for me opposite the bank .

Ehizo said he would like to discuss with the motorcyclist , so I gave the phone to him and they discussed. ”

Asked if he informed security agencies about the planned robbery, Ewim said he did not , adding that he did not have the time to do so , because he was always at work .

He stated , “On the day of the robbery, I was sick .

I left my hotel for the clinic around 3 am .

After the conversation with Ehizo that he needed a driver, I went to work.

I didn’ t know that they were going to rob the bank that day .

“ I saw the video of the robbery and people were calling me about it .

Even, my brother called me about it , but I didn’ t report myself to the police .

My brother said he would take me to the police , fortunately , they came around . ”

The FCT police spokesman , DSP Anjuguri Manzah, said the suspects would be arraigned soon .

Narrating how the failed heist was executed , David said Ehizo informed the gang members that the robbery would fetch them N 7 m , adding that he assured them that only few staff members would be at work on the day of the incident .

David explained that the banker administered an oath of secrecy on him before they went for the robbery.

On entering the bank premises , the 19- year – old stated that they saw the policeman on duty sleeping , adding that they tied him with an old sponge and proceeded to the banking hall , where they also tied the workers on duty.

He had said , “Mr Larry (Ehizo ) told us that the job could fetch about N 7 m . After we entered the bank , we saw the MOPOL (riot policeman ) on duty sleeping , so Obinna pointed a pistol at him and we tied him with an old sponge . Mr Larry told us that he would keep the other door open for us .

“ So , Larry and Obinna later went upstairs with a pair of pliers to disconnect the CCTV .

On our way out, Larry suddenly shouted, ‘ Ah , the MOPOL has escaped’ , then I ran inside and all of us were scattered .

I didn’ t know what to do .

Then the police fired teargas inside the banking hall . ”

David said Ehizo attempted to implicate one of his colleagues after they were arrested.

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