With the recent spate of armed robbers confessing and being rehabilitated at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations, their stories of restitution have attracted interest among the media. Here is an article from Nigeria’s most popular newspaper, The Sun, narrating the experiences of some armed robbers who were delivered after the prayers of Prophet TB Joshua…
Members of a church in Lagos State are still wondering how 25 armed robbers, who sat in their midst, got up and reeled out the gory, chilling details of their deadly, dirty past.
One of them even hid his gun in the church’s flower garden and concealed some live bullets in his trousers. He came to wile away time in the church before going out for operation.
“I rob in traffic. So, I came to wait for it to start before I go out,” he said.
As the service progressed, the General Overseer of The Synagogue Church of all Nations, Pastor T.B. Joshua, openly said that some armed robbers were in the church. He urged them to come out for prayers and deliverance before it was too late. Silence greeted his pronouncement. No one moved. He went on preaching and between that still requested for the armed robbers to come out.
The pastor soon walked up to a man – a seemingly quiet-looking fellow and said: “Stand up.” The man gingerly stood and followed him to the podium. The pastor, in his characteristic manner, stretched his hand towards the man and uttered a silent prayer. Perhaps knocked down by the force of the prayer, the man collapsed in a heap and lay lifeless for minutes.
The pastor ordered him to stand up and asked him what he had hidden in his trousers pocket. Somewhat tongue-tied, the man mumbled incoherently and brought some live bullets.
With that shocking display, the church members went wild with emotions. Some wanted to pounce on the man. Some wanted to call the police. Others not too numbed by shock, prayed loudly for the man’s repentance and salvation. But the pastor acted swiftly. He calmed everyone before the man found his voice. He was led by a church warden to where he hid a sawed-off gun in the church’s flower garden. Television cameras focused on him as the service was broadcast live on the church’s Emmanuel TV.
“I wait at a corner, target big cars, knock on their windows, show my gun and the person will stop and open. I take money and handsets. Na so I live in Lagos,” he said partly in Pigeon English.
The man went on and confessed how he randomly robbed for years on major streets of Lagos. Some owners of jeeps and other luxury cars at Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Ikeja, Surulere, Festac, Ikotun and Maryland may have fallen victim to him.
As though on cue, the confession made other bandits to come out for deliverance. By last Sunday, 25 mean-looking, self-confessed armed robbers from different parts of the country literally besieged the church. Sunday Sun learnt they want deliverance and rehabilitation. Some of them spoke exclusively to Sunday Sun.
Prince of thieves
This short but deadly terror is from the northern part of the country. He once ruled the underworld there with a 25-man gang. His words: “I have been in it since 2001. I got into it when my father died; he was a church minister. That time I had a demo gospel CD. I wanted to come out with it but no one helped me. I became angry and went to Jos. The man I met there trained me. When he died during one operation, I took over. That was how I got guns and recruited my boys.
We select the people we recruit. I used to go to bars and nightclubs and search for hard boys. I buy them drinks and cigarettes. I befriend them, make them to like and trust me before I introduce them to it. We take oath at a very powerful juju man’s place. We also buy protection, that is, charm against bad luck and police bullets.
Bad early life
I used to go to school but I stopped in JSSII. I was following bad boys, smoking hemp and drinking. But my father and mother didn’t know. I lied to them that I had part-time job in a factory. All were lies.
It all depends on where we want to rob. All of us don’t always go out at the same time. We go out in batches of four and five.
Another thing is, all us of don’t travel together. We go in bits, in twos. We meet at graveyards. The place is normally lonely. So, we plan our operations there. After going out, we go there and bury our guns in graves with corpses. But if we want to go into a new town, we usually hide our guns inside bags of rice, maize or garri. So with that method, the police didn’t catch us.
One night we wanted to rob a big place. All of us came together to plan it. We smoked, took hard drug and drank to ‘cook’ ourselves well. But on our way there, a torchlight flashed. Before I could tell my boys what to do, gunfire started. All my boys perished that night. Good boys – all of them, well-trained good shooters died.
Bullet touched me here and there but I vanished. When they were shooting at us, I touched something – a powerful charm one Baba gave me. I later found myself in a thick forest.
While in the forest, walking about confused, I heard a voice. I think it must be God. He told me: “Have you forgotten that you are a gifted singer? Use your voice and earn a living. If you rob again, you will die.” I became afraid for the first time in my life.
I left the forest and went to my father’s friend and told him everything. He took me into his bedroom, put on the television and I saw what Pastor T.B Joshua was doing on Emmanuel TV. That’s how I came here. I’m now a new man. May God and people I’ve wronged forgive me…(sobbing).
The field marshal
In the underworld, he acts and operates like a Field Marshal. He leads and directs the operations of his 17-man gang. For 12 years, the gangling 31-year-old gangster reigned.
Hear him: “Well, I have been in it for 12 years. I had 17 boys working with me. Three of them are dead and four are in prison now. We started as friends in school. We formed a cult. The cult united us as brothers. We mixed our blood, drank and swore not to betray each other. That is why we were successful for years.
“I have a family. But I don’t like my father and mother. They drove me into this. They used to tell me that my mates were doing better than me. So, I left home. I began staying with bad boys. I have done all kinds of things. Last year, I was even in jail. Anyway, that is past now.
“While we robbed, I never thought of tomorrow. The money I made went just like that. I gave them to friends. After buying guns and bullets, every thing went to women and drinks.
I want to establish as shoe making shop. I’m now a born again. When I leave here, I’ll go and bring my boys for deliverance. Crime doesn’t pay. I regret now
By Jossy Idam
Sunday, November 29, 2009
SOURCE: The Sun