Topo Beach, popularly known as Padi-sea beach, located in Badagry area of Lagos is usually a beehive of activities, particularly at weekends, as fun seekers from all walks of life throng there to unwind.
The beach also serves as residence for fishermen who are already laying claims to some sections of it with distinct barricade to delineate one’s domain from another.
However, it has been discovered lately that robbers hide under the veil of the social significance of the beach to perpetrate heinous crimes as a recent discovery clearly portrayed. The police acting on a tip-off, discovered a large catchment of arms cleverly buried in the river bed.
The recovered arms included two AK 47 riffles, four AK 47 magazines with fifty -seven rounds of live ammunition, four pump action guns with one hundred and four rounds of live cartridges, two single barrel guns, charms and amulets .
Addressing newsmen on how the police outwitted the sea criminals, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Umar Manko said “ A team of Anti-Crime Patrol Marine division from Badagry , led by Inspector Mojeed Olaniyan stormed the beach and arrested one Momayan Fiapanu and Nunayon Yanagbon who belong to a deadly gang of sea robbers who have been terrorizing the waterways of Nigeria, Benin Republic and Ghana for a long time. They specialized in hijacking Diesel and other petroleum products in the sea and also attacking other cargo ships”
But when approached, the suspects claimed they knew nothing about the attacks . One of them, Momayan Fiapanu told Crime Guard that his cousin whose name he gave as Sunny Apkota was a member a sea-pirate gang, disclosing that other members of his gang were from the Niger Delta region .
According to him, “ I am a fisherman. All I do is to go to the sea to fish and at the end, sell the fish to people who come to the beach. The guns they recovered are owned by some Niger Delta boys. They are my brother’s friends. I live with my brother at the beach”
Asked if he knew what business his brother was into, he replied, “ Initially, I did not know because he was into fishing as well. But one day while I was on the sea, I sighted them attacking a ship and when I asked him later, he just told me to mind my business.
How my brother and his gang operate
My brother is the gang leader. What they do is that they go into the sea with boats like other fishermen. When they sight an oil tank, they would intercept the ship and start shooting. Then , some of them would mount the cargo , order the crew to enter into another boat while they would sail in the hijacked boat. They would thereafter, sell the product same day. At times, they would take the product to Benin Republic and at other times, to Seme. At other times, they would dress up like soldiers and escorts cargoes, to avoid attack .
How I was arrested
I was on the sea fishing when I sighted some Marine Policemen. They arrested me and asked after my brother. They did not find anything in my boat. They followed me to the shore where they conducted a search around and discovered these weapons”(points at the displayed weapons)
However on his part, 29year-old Nunayon Yanagbon told Crime Guard that he knew nothing about the recovered weapons nor attacks on the sea, stating that he was only arrested when the policemen stormed the beach.