When I was growing up, my father once told me a story of how a notorious bandit called Anini terrorised the whole of Bendel State (presently known as Edo State). He robbed several banks and other commercial centres at ease with his ruthless gang.
Anini because of his notoriety became a household name. He defiantly killed both senior and junior police officers and not only that, exposed the warped disposition of the police force in Nigeria.
Because of the gorilla approach of Anini in his operations (which made it easier for him and his gang members to elope after attacking any target), many schools of thought emerged at a time just to unmask his invisibility.
Though, Anini, which was fondly called ‘The Law’, usually turned to a Father Christmas; after any robbery operation as he sprayed wads of naira notes on the ground for free pick by market men and women.
Anini’s image thus loomed larger than life, surpassing those of Ishola Oyenusi, the king of robbers in the 1970’s and Youpelle Dakuro, the army deserter who masterminded the most vicious daylight robbery in Lagos in 1978, in which two policemen were killed.
Worried by the reign of terror and elusiveness of Anini, after the conclusion of a meeting of the Armed Forces Ruling Council in October 1986, General Babangida turned to the Inspector General of Police, Etim Inyang, and asked, ‘my friend, where is Anini?’. This question however set the final stage for the manhunt of Anini and his collaborators.
Perhaps, it took the doggedness of superintendent Kayode who led a 10 man crack team to apprehend Anini in his hideout. Shortly after the arrest of Anini and others, the dare devil robbers began to sing like parrots, exposing the roles played by key police officers in the aiding and abetting of crime in Bendel State and the entire country.
Mr Anini specifically revealed that Iyamu, who was the most senior police officer shielding the robbers, would reveal police secrets to them and then, give them logistics supports such as arms, to carry out robbery operations.
After the jury had taken a meticulous scrutinization of the evidences presented by the prosecuting team (police) against Anini, he was found guilty and was finally sentenced to death by firing squad. The demise of Anini and his cohorts was a pyrrhic victory for the Nigerian police force and a big relieve to the people of Bendel State.
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