They are members of different confraternities, from different states of Nigeria. They have been intimidating residents at will, dispossessing them of cash, telephones and other valuables. They also extort money from hoteliers , traders and Point of Sale ,PoS operators , unchallenged.
Attempts by the traders to refuse to part with cash resulted in their shops being burgled, or fun seekers at the hotels and clubs harassed or kidnapped, with ransom paid for their release.
Welcome to the world of the Crack Squad, a robbery gang that has been terrorizing Lumac and its environs in Satellite Town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State, since last year.
Members of this gang as gathered, held girls hostage in their apartments for days and subjected them to sexual assault before releasing them. They also always molest married women.
Surprisingly, women were discovered to be members too. These women sell hard drugs commonly known as mpurumiri., openly on the streets and hostels scattered around the area.
Other traders who sell the same products but are not members of the Crack Squad , have had their drugs seized severally, without having the audacity to challenge the gang. Some of these traders had to quit sales of illicit drugs , all in a bid to be free from the ceaseless harassment.
For the female members of the gang, they are used as bait to get rich men who patronize hotels and clubs in the area. These men would be kidnapped and released after parting with huge ransom.
Interestingly, after committing these havocs, members of the gang as gathered, would escape through the river , to the other side of the local government , whenever security operatives came raiding.
But luck ran against the gang recently, following the arrest of five suspected members, among who were two women, by detectives of the Lagos State Police Command’s Special Squad. Crime Guard gathered that one of them , a suspected female member who also doubled as the gang’s armourer, Blessing Gabriel, 30, was apprehended last month , after other members of the gang who were earlier arrested, led detectives to her alleged criminal hideout on Olasunoye street, Satellite.
A miniature English pistol concealed in a bag and some hard drugs tucked under her brazier , were recovered from her.
suspects gave identities of leader of the gang as Ndukwe , a.k.a Hefty and his deputy, Amadi .Confesses.
Blessing , a mother of two, who confessed to being a member of the Vi-queen cult group, however denied being a member of the Crack Squad.
She said: “ I joined Vi-queens cult group since I was a student in Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, Kaduna State. Unfortunately, I dropped out of school when I lost my dad.
“I started selling hard drugs when I entered the streets, in satellite Town and I made N5000 daily. I gave hard drugs commonly called ICE or mpurumiri, to members of the Crack Squad so that they won’t disturb me when I am selling. Everyone knows that members of the squad are deadly. Their leader is Hefty. He is on the run.
“Members of the Crack Squad kidnapped my boyfriend , Afro, from Obiagu club where he went for leisure. My boyfriend is married with four children but he sent his family to the village, while he is hustling on the streets. They told my boyfriend I was the one that masterminded his kidnap.
Asked what she was doing with the pistol found on her, she replied, “ I was on my way to return the gun to Afro, my boyfriend when the Police invaded the area. But I lied to the Police that the gun belongs to Hefty , leader of the gang, in order to protect my boyfriend and to get back at Hefty because he and members of his gang came to rob me of my drugs the night the Police came raiding”.
She was also accused of masterminding the robbery operation of one of the traders in the area, identified simply as Obiora. Again, she denied, explaining rather that ,”Mr Obiora is a drug dealer. He sells around Ijegun. NDLEA once arrested me. The operatives asked me to mention names of people selling drugs around that area, but I refused.
“I was released because there was no evidence to prove that I was selling drugs. After my release, I decided to meet Mr Obiora to suggest that we should contribute some amount of money to take to the NDLEA officials since they now have an office at Ijegun. That way, they would not come and raid at our end.
“On my way to his place, I met Hefty. He asked where I was going and I told him. But he doubted me and decided to accompany me there. On reaching Obiora’s place, we met his wife. I collected Obiora’s drugs, left my phone number with the little boy that was with his wife, with an instruction that Obiora should call me when he returned. He actually came to meet me , we arranged on how to negotiate with the NDLEA officials and I immediately returned his stuff back. I didn’t rob him”
Hefty raped me at will – drug dealer
Another arrested female suspect, Chidinmma Madukwe, 32, who also confessed to having been into sales of illicit drugs at Lumac area of Satellite, said she was forced to stop selling following pressure from the leader of the Crack squad, Hefty.
She disclosed that she was kidnapped last August in Obiagu, by Hefty and members of his gang.
She said: “They took me to Baale street at Ijegun, and collected all my drugs (mkpurummiri ), including the cash I was with and the ones in my bank account too.
“After some days, I saw Hefty at my house, I was shocked and asked how he knew my house. He said one of his boys located my place. Hefty is somebody that everyone feared because he usually carried guns around. He always intimidated and oppressed me because I have no one here in Lagos.
“ I once reported how he had been intimidating me , to a policeman at Area ‘E’ , Festac Town. But to my surprise, the policeman told Hefty that I wanted to burst his gang. Hefty and his boys came to my house, beat me up and left me with injuries on my face. This, (pointing to a scar on her left ear) was what he did to me. Since then, he has been coming to my house. Each time he came with his boys, they would beat me and my younger brother, and collect our valuables including phones. No one would come to our help even when we raised the alarm.
Most times, he would rape me, without using condom. I had to move out of the house when I could not pay the rent, as I was forced to stop selling hard drugs due to the incessant seizure of my goods by the Crack Squad. I had to go into prostitution to make ends meet” , stated the Anambra State born.
How Crack Squad was formed – suspect
Other suspected members of the gang that were arrested included: Ikechukwu Chikwau ,25; Aleke Onyeka,28; Anthony Nwachukwu,, 25 and Odo Solomon,32. They were all arrested at different times.
One of them, revealed that members of the gang belong to separate cult groups such as Eiye, Aiye, Arobaga and Vi-Kings.
Explaining how the Crack Squad was created , Odo, said: “The Crack Squad didn’t start as any squad. Hefty, created it. We started by gathering on the street . Whenever we did not have money to buy mpurumiri, Hefty would buy on credit and pay later.
Before you knew it , the squad was created. The reason you don’t hear much about cult clashes in our area is because they belong to the same squad.
“At one point, I stopped hanging out with them because they said they didn’t trust me anymore. Sometimes we might sit together and they would be planning something without my knowledge. But whenever they strike, everybody will assume I am one of them”.
The suspects, according to the out-gone Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, would be charged to court, even as he revealed that 226 persons were arrested between January and March 1, 2022, for various offences.