A customer, Ernest Ewim, on Friday revealed how he was recruited into Abuja bank robbery, by a staff, Larry Ehizo.
A branch of First Bank in Mpape, an Abuja suburb was on Saturday, December 28, 2019 invaded by a gang of armed robbers.
Ewim, who was initially rated as the mastermind, pointed accusing fingers at the bank staff.
But Ewim admitted that he linked the gang with the bank staff (Ehizo).
He said he went for a transaction in the bank when Ehizo struck friendship with him.
Although he said he was initially suspicious of the sudden friendship, Ehizo was persistent by tempting him with the prospect of job in the bank.
He said Ehizo had offered the gang an alternative of robbing a branch of First Bank in Mararaba in Nasarawa State but he said he did not know the terrain.
Narrating how he met Ehizo and how the planning for the operation went, Ewim said, “My name is Ernest Ewim, I bank with First Bank. I had an issue with my account because sometimes my boss pays my salary through transfer and I don’t receive alert. So I went to the bank to lay complaint that I am not receiving alert. He (Ehizo) was the one that attended to me. Larry was the one that attended to me that day. He asked me what was the problem and I said I could not receive alert in my account anymore. He now took my details and checked and he told me the account was balance. I now asked him what could be the cause and because I used to receive alert before, so he checked and said the account was balanced but he did not know what could cause it.
“I now asked him you are a bank worker how would you not know how to work it. He now told me to drop my number that he would check it and when he finishes, he would call me. I now said okay and dropped my number with him and went to work. That day he did not call me. So the next day I went to the bank and told him that I did not see his call and the thing did not work. He now asked what could be the thing causing it. I now said I should be the one asking you. After much talk, he now sent me to one woman there that I should go and meet the woman to check for me and the woman told me the account is balanced and I went back to him and told him. And he now said we should try my phone. That I should remove my battery and put it back which I did. Not up to five minutes, I received message from my phone, I checked and it was from First Bank I now said thank God it is working now. I now thanked him and went back to work.
“Three days later I received a phone call in the evening. The person just called my name. A strange number called my name. I now said who is this. He said his name was Larry, I did not know his name that time. He said he was the guy that attended to me at the bank. I now said ‘Bros what is the problem’. He said he would like to see me that there was no problem. I told him right now I am at work. He now asked me when I would close from work and I told him I close late. That I close 12 in the night and he said okay that we cannot see that day and I said okay. Two days later he called again I asked where I was. I told him I was at work and he asked whether he can see me. I said I don’t know if I should be chanced. I would try, if there is no customer, we would close early. Later he called back and I said I am still at work. Later he now called back and said he has a work for me and it was not a phone talk and I now said okay. On a good day when he came to meet me he now told me he wanted people that would work for him in the bank.
“In my mind I was like I am still working. I now said which kind of work. If it is the one that I would leave my former job, if they would pay me higher I would go to the bank and work. I now said which kind of work? It took him some minutes. I said he should tell me and he said though he does not trust anybody, he does not know why he wants to tell me. I said he should tell me. He said he wants to attack the bank. That I should forget that his work is in the bank also. I now said which bank? He now said First Bank in Mpape or Maraba.
“He told me he would prefer the one in Maraba. I now told him number one, since I have been in Abuja, I don’t know Maraba, because I go to work early in the morning and close late. I told him I don’t do this type of work if it is robbery case that I don’t thief. He now asked if I know anybody that can do the job and I told him no. As I am working in Katampe, I know this boy Prince more than one year. I know him as a photographer, but I have heard stories about him that he is a stubborn person. People said he is stubborn, he fights and is a cultist and such things. I was even afraid of him. But after sometime, that day he went to snap in a party. He had his camera and I told him ‘Oga Prince, look at what so and so person told me.’ He now asked of the number. He asked if I have the number and I said I think so because the person called me two days ago. I now checked for the number and he collected the number from me. As he collected the number from me, that is how the two of them started to communicate.
“They would come to my hotel to drink and I would serve them drinks. So that Saturday they did the robbery, Larry called and asked if I know how to drive and I said no. He now said if I know anyone who can drive, I said yes, the person who carries me from work knows how to drive and he said he wants to meet the person. I said I was not with the person but I can call the person if he wants. I now called the driver. I now called the person and he said we should stop over at First Bank that he would see the guy. He now called back and said I should give the phone to the person. I now asked the driver what he said and he said he asked if he can drive manual. That is all I know about the story. So I went to my own work.