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The Rise And Fall Of Anini ,The Taxi Driver Turn Armed Robber 

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Aneni

The notorious bandit who terrorised Benin City and old Bendel State the 80s , Lawrence Nomanyagbon Anini A.K.A. “Ovbigbo” or “the Law”

Anini was born in a village about 20 miles from Benin City in present-day Edo State. He migrated to Benin at an early age, learned to drive and became a skilled taxi driver.

Anini became known in Benin motor parks as a man who could control the varied competing interests among motor park touts and operators. He later dived into the criminal business in the city and soon became a driver and transporter for gangs, criminal godfathers and thieves. Later on, he decided to create his own gang which included, Monday Osunbor, Friday Ofege, Smallie ,Henry Ekponwan, Eweka and Alhaji Zed Zed or Zegezege who was never captured. They started out as car hijackers, bus robbers and bank thieves. Gradually, he extended his criminal acts to other towns and cities far north and east of Benin.

The complicity of the police is believed to have triggered Anini’s reign of terror in 1986. In early 1986, two members of his gang were tried and prosecuted against an earlier under-the-table ‘agreement’ with the police to destroy evidence against the gang members. The incident, and Anini’s view of police betrayal, is believed to have spurred retaliatory actions by Anini. In August, 1986, a fatal bank robbery linked to Anini was reported in which a police officer (Nathaniel Egharevba)and others were killed. That same month, two officers on duty were shot at a barricade while trying to stop Anini’s car. During a span of three months, he was known to have killed nine police officers.

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In an operation in August 1986, the Anini team struck at First Bank, Sabongida-Ora, where they carted away N2,000. But although the amount stolen was seen as chicken feed, many persons were killed. On September 6, same year, the Anini gang snatched a Peugeot 504 car from Albert Otoe, the driver of the famous super cop Assistant Inspector General of Police, Christopher Omeben. In snatching the car, they killed the driver and went to hide his corpse somewhere. It was not until three months later that the skeleton of the driver was spotted 16 kilometers away from Benin City, along the Benin-Agbor highway. A day after this attack, Anini, operating in a Passat car believed to have been stolen, also effected the snatching of another Peugeot 504 car near the former FEDECO office, in Benin.

Two days later, the Anini men killed two policemen in Orhiowon Local Government of the state. Still in that month, three different robbery attacks, all pointing to Anini’s involvement, took place. They include the murder of Frank Unoarumi, a former employee of the Nigerian Observer newspapers; the killing of Mrs. Remi Sobanjo, a chartered accountant, and the stealing of the Mercedes Benz car in Benin, of the Ughelli monarch, the Ovie. Before September 1986 drew to a close, Anini struck at a gas station along Wire Road, Benin, where he stole a substantial part of the day’s sales. He shot the station’s attendant and gleefully started spraying his booty along the road for people to pick. The height of Anini’s exploits, however, took place on October 1, 1986, the Independence Day when the state’s Commissioner of Police, Casmir Akagbosu was ambushed by the gang in Benin riddled his convoy in a hail of bullets. The police boss survived the attacks with serious injuries. Earlier that day also, the Anini men had gunned down a police man within the city

“The Law”, as he was nicknamed, during an operation that went bad reportedly had to escape from the police by driving in reverse for a greater part of the distance from Agbor (Delta State) to Benin City (Edo State).

Also, on October 21 of same year, the Anini robbery gang terminated the life of a Benin-based medical doctor, A.O Emojeve when they gunned him down along Textile Mill Road, in Benin. Not done, Anini and gang went and robbed the Agbor branch of African Continental Bank and carted away about N46, 000. A day after the operation, Anini, The Law, turned to a ‘Father Christmas’ as he strew wads of naira notes on the ground for free pick by market men and women at a village near Benin. Anini’s image thus loomed larger than life, dwarfing those of Ishola Oyenusi, the king of robbers in the 1970s and Youpelle Dakuro, the army deserter who masterminded the most vicious daylight robbery,at Boulous Enterprises in Lagos in 1978, in which two policemen were killed. Anini thus spearheaded a four-month reign of terror between August and December 1986. Anini also reportedly wrote numerous letters to media houses using political tones of Robin Hood-like words, to describe his criminal acts.

Worried by the seeming elusiveness of Anini and his gang members, the military President, General Ibrahim Babangida then ordered a massive manhunt for the kingpin and his fellow robbers. The police thus went after them, combing every part of Bendel State where they were reportedly operating and living. The whole nation was gripped with fear of the robbers and their daredevil exploits.

However, Police manhunt failed to stop their activities; the more they were hunted, the more intensified their activities became. Some of the locals in the area even began to tell stories of their invincibility and for a while, it felt like they were never going to be caught. However, at the conclusion of a meeting of the Armed Forces Ruling Council , the Nation’s then highest ruling body in October 1986, General Babangida turned to the Inspector- General of Police, Etim Inyang, and asked, ‘My friend, where is Anini?’ Apperently embarrassed, IGP Iyang could to only tell his Commander in Chief that “We are still looking for him sir”. IGP Iyang was soon tender his notice of retirement from the force.

At about this time, Nigerian newspapers and journals were also publishing various reports and editorials on the ‘Anini Challenge’, the ‘Anini Saga’, the ‘Anini Factor’, ‘Lawrence Anini – the Man, the Myth’, ‘Anini, and ‘Lawrence Anini: A Robin Hood in Bendel’. The Guardian New papers asked, emphatically, in one of its reports: ‘Will they ever find Anini, “The Law”?’.

An African Proverb says “everyday for the thief ,one day for the owner, Anini’s reign of terror was eventually brought to an end with his arreste by a police officer , Superintendent of Police, Kayode Uanreroro on December 3, 1986, at No 26, Oyemwosa Street, opposite Iguodala Primary School, Benin City, in company with six women. Acting on a tip-off from the locals, the policeman went straight to the house where Anini was hiding and apprehended him with very little resistance. Uanreroro led a crack 10-man team to the house, knocked on the door of the room, and Anini himself, clad in underpants, opened the door. “Where is Anini,” the police officer quickly enquired. It was believed that his girl friend had a hand in his arrest. Many are of the opinion that the girlfriend collaborated with the police and took Anini’s charms away before the police arrived. Dazed as he was caught off guard and having no escape route, Anini all the same tried to be smart. “Oh, Anini is under the bed in the inner room”. As he said it, he made some moves to walk past Uanreroro and his team. In the process, he shoved and head-butted the police officer but it was an exercise in futility. Uanreroro promptly reached for his gun, stepped hard on Anini’s right toes and shot at his left ankle. Anini surged forward but the policemen took hold of him and put him in a sitting position. They then pumped more bullets into his shot leg and almost severed the ankle from his entire leg. Already, anguished by the excruciating pains, the policemen asked him, “Are you Anini?” And he replied, “My brother, I won’t deceive you; I won’t tell you lie, I’m Anini.”

He was from there taken to the police command headquarters where the state’s Police Commissioner, Parry Osayande, was waiting. While in the police net, Anini who had poor command of English and could only communicate in pidgin, made a whole lot of revelations. He disclosed, for instance that Osunbor, who had been arrested earlier, was his deputy, saying that Osunbor actually shot and wounded the former police boss of the state, Akagbosu

Anini was shot in the leg, transferred to a military hospital, and had one of his legs amputated. That was after Monday Osunbor was also captured. When Anini’s hideout was searched, police recovered assorted charms, including the one he usually wore around his waist during “operations”. It was instructive that after Anini was captured and dispossessed of his charms, the man who terrorised a whole state and who was supposed to be fearless suddenly became so lilly livered and started singing like a sparrow, making confessions. This was against public expectation of a daredevil hoodlum who would remain defiant to the very end.

Shortly after the arrest of Anini and co, the dare-devil robbers began to squeal, revealing the roles played by key police officers and men, in the aiding and abetting of criminals in Bendel State and the entire
country. Due to the amputation of his leg, Anini was confined to a wheelchair throughout his trial.

Anini particularly revealed that Chief Supretendent of Police Iyamu, who was the most senior police officer shielding the robbers, would reveal police secrets to them and then, give them logistic supports such as arms, to carry out robbery operations.

He further revealed that Iyamu, after each operation, would join them in sharing the loot. It was further exposed how Iyamu planned to kill Christopher Omeben, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Intelligence and Investigation. But Iyamu was later to be disappointed as the assailants dispatched to eliminate Omeben were only able to kill his driver, Otue, a sergeant. Iyamu, whom the robbers fondly referred to as ‘Baba’, reportedly had choice buildings in Benin City; being how he invested the loots he obtained from men of the underworld. Iyamu, on his part, denied ever knowing and collaborating with Anini. But Anini stood his ground .Of the 10 police officers Anini implicated, five were convicted. The robbery suspects, including Iyamu, were sentenced to death.

But in passing his judgement, Justice Omo-Agege remarked, “Anini will forever be remembered in the history of crime in this country, but it would be of unblessed memory. Few people if ever, would give the name to their children.” The execution of Anini and the remaining members of his gang took place on the last Saturday of March ,1987. Osunbor and CSP Iyamu had been executed few weeks earlier.

History

Civil War:Did Awolowo Betrayed Secessionists

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Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo

 

Frederick Forsyth in his 1969 book “The Making of an African Legend: The Biafran Story,” argues:

Chief Awolowo had just returned from a visit to Colonel Ojukwu in Enugu and he had been able to witness for himself (which others scrupulously refrained from doing) the depth of feeling in the East. According to Colonel Ojukwu, Awolowo had asked if the East would pull out, and the reply had been it would not until and unless it was absolutely offered no other alternative.

After seeing the situation for himself, Awolowo sympathized with the sufferings of the Eastern people, and asked that if the East was going to pull out, he be allowed twenty-four hours forewarning and he would do same for the West. This he was promised. Later he got his forewarning, but by that time he had been swayed round by other attractions, and failed to fulfil his intent. From the point of view of the Yorubas it was a pity, for if Awolowo had stuck to his guns the Federal Government, unable to face two simultaneous disaffections, would have been forced to fulfil the Aburi agreements to the letter.

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Had it done so, Nigeria would probably be at peace today, not as a unitary state of twelve provinces, but as a Confederation of quasi-autonomous states living in harmony.
===

Note:
On 1 May 1967 at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meeting in Ibadan, Awolowo listed as one of his four imperatives for peace in Nigeria that: “If the Eastern Region is allowed by acts of omission or commission to secede from or opt out of Nigeria, then the Western Region and Lagos must also stay out of the Federation.”

Defending Awolowo in his 2009 book “Awo: Unfinished Greatness,” Olufemi Ogunsanwo posits:

Chief Awolowo has defended his conduct as far as the accusations against him on the ‘Biafran question’ was concerned. What was the main grouse against him as perceived by the avarage Igbo at the time? First, it was claimed that after the Igbos, led by Ojukwu, seceded from Nigeria, Awolowo refused to follow suit by taking the West out of the federation in May 1967. Instead of doing so when he had declared in Ibadan that if the East was pushed out, the West would quit the federation, he added the weight of his political acumen and expertise in managing the economy to help Gowon’s administration to subdue the secessionists…

Chief Awolowo has refuted all these charges as a “blatant misrepresentation of the facts”. First, he denied luring anybody to secession and war. He said his speech at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meetin in Ibadan in May 1967 “could not and was not an invitation or a goading to secession or the dismemberment of the country”. He stated that his ‘Four Imperatives’ speech contained nothing to suggest secession. All he said was that the East should not be bullied out of the federation. Was the East forced out? Awolowo argued that: “It insults the intelligence of the Igbos as a group to imply that they were heartened to opt for secession on the basis of my speech.” On the contrary he had advocated on the eve of the war that: “The Eastern Region must be encouraged to remain [as a] part of the Federation”.

He did not stop with mere admonishment and platitudes in his caution. He took the risk of travelling by road to Enugu in the middle of the crisis to lead a delegation to plead with Ojukwu to relent and take the cautious road to save precious lives on the battlefield. Ojukwu refused.
===

Obafemi Awolowo was Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council in the Gowon government during and immediately after the civil war.

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History

Nigeria’s SG Ikoku,Who Aligned With Zik For The Struggle Of Nigeria’s Independence

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Late SG Ikoku

 

Born to Alvan and Grace Ikoku, Mazi Samuel Goomsu Ikoku was a trade unionist and politician. in 1946, As a student at University of Southampton, he supported Nigeria’s independence movement led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, writing articles printed by the West African Pilot.

He was popular for famously defeating his father, Alvan at the March 15, 1957 South Eastern House of Assembly elections.

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Dr. Alvan Ikoku lost the election with 59 votes.
Alvan heavily frowned at it but later gave his son his full support to carry on and even provided funds for his re-election in 1961.

Alvan Ikoku is the man whose face is on the ₦10 note

They hailed from Arochukwu in Abia state.

Samuel Goomsu Ikoku died on 2nd April 1997 in Awka, Anambra State.

SG Ikoku is the author of Nigeria’s Fourth coup D’etat a collection on the overthrow of Shagari’s regime by soldiers on the 31st December 1983

 

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History

Ejoor:The General Behind Nigerian Army Logo

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General David Ejoor

 

I Present to you, the Man behind the written statement on Nigeria Army logo “نصر مناالله ” (Nassurul Minnal’llah) meaning “Victory is from Allah(GOD) Alone”.

His Name: General David Ejoor.

A Nigeria by Birth, A True Blood of Niger Delta, A Christian, and a Patriotic Nigeria.

Little of how he comes about the Arabic Inscription on Nigeria Army.

In His Book Tittle: Reminiscences

He said and i quote, “ Looking at all the world Navy, Air force has same logo pattern, but Nigeria Army flag was just having palm tree as a logo then which was before independent”. I always rejected the ideas but since then I wasn’t an army officer and i have no power over it such i left it ideology”.

“In 1903, I remembered the battle between the British and the the sultan of Sokoto, which flag of sultan of Sokoto has an Arabic inscription, which took me long before I know the meaning but at the end, i learnt, it means, (Victory is from God Alone)”.

What British has as a logo was Regiment colour shade, after i was given a chance to design a new logo for Nigeria army which was after independent, I incorporate the Arabic inscription in to army badge to represent Defence. Because during 1903 battle of Sultan of Sokoto with British Army, the Sokoto Army become stronger and unstoppable by saying “Victory is From God Alone”. These was the ideas and it was 99% accepted by the Nigeria Government.

He also said, “Nigeria after independent need a very strong bond to keep all region together as one nation, so the idea was fully welcome and that was how i come about the Arabic inscription.

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The funny part of it was, presenting the Arabic inscription without knowing the meaning but after discovering the full meaning i become stronger because I knew those Sokoto army can’t chant a word without a strong meaning backing it.

 

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