Assorted Charms, Weapons Recovered From Notorious Armed Robber In Lagos. Photo

For many years, John Ibafo, a suspected leader of an armed robbery gang, accused of being responsible for violence and attacks which take place in Iponri and Ebute Metta areas of Lagos, had been on the wanted list of the Lagos State Police Command.
On Wednesday, operatives of the command got a credible tip-off about a meeting called by Ibafo to plan an attack in the area. But Saturday PUNCH learnt that an operation aimed at capturing the suspect and his men did not go as planned. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, who gave a brief on how the operation went down, explained that as soon as the gang leader spotted policemen, he started shooting sporadically to make him escape. Fearing that innocent bystanders might be hit, Owoseni said his men refrained from engaging the suspect and his gang members in a shootout, which was why he escaped. But when the police eventually gained access to the hideouts where he was holding court with his gang members, they realised that Ibafo had left behind his weapons and what was later discovered to be the “back bone of his operations”. Found in two bottles were two figurines, which Owoseni said served as the medium through which the gang leader consulted the spirit before every operation. “The figurines, we believe direct the team on which operation to undertake,” the CP said. Also recovered in the hideout were three vehicles which he and his gang members brought to the meeting. Apart from these, the police also recovered one AK47 rifle, with 22 rounds of ammunition and three magazines along with a revolver and assorted charms. Ibafo first attracted the attention of the police when he was regularly fingered as the one responsible for consistent mayhem unleashed in Oyingbo area of Lagos two years ago. In September 2015, matters came to a head when he allegedly shot dead three persons at a party at Rail Line area of Oyingbo. It was learnt that some hoodlums led by Ibafo, who was seen wielding a pump action rifle, invaded the area around 9pm that day and began to shoot sporadically. The victims were said to be guests at a party before they could make their escape when shooting started. Many other residents were said to have been hit in the process. For several days, residents of the area could hardly venture out as Ibafo threatened to continue to unleash violence in the area. Saturday PUNCH learnt that Ibafo has also been accused for being responsible for many other murders in the area.

Owoseni has said his men are currently on the trail of Ibafo as they make efforts to apprehend him.