Patrol soldiers, on Friday, handed over a suspected thief to hoodlums who set him ablaze for attempting to steal a parked motorcycle at the premises of United Bank for Africa (UBA) in Mokwa, Niger State.
The victim, Baba Mohammed, hailed from Ja’agi village under Mokwa local council. According to eyewitnesses, he attempted to steal a motorcycle with a master key. His attempt was, however, thwarted by guards in the bank.
One of the guard identified as Bishop told WikkiTimes the victim followed the owner of the motorcycle into the bank premises and later returned to “cart it away.”
“So, it was a security man on duty that was watching and told the suspect that the bike belongs to someone but he insisted that the bike belongs to him,” the guard said. “That was how he was caught.”
According to an eyewitness who gave his name as Abdul, the master key Mohammed was carrying unlock all motorcycles parked at the front of the bank, “except my own,” he said. “I tested the key with my bike but it did not work.”
When mobs wanted to lynch him, the soldiers were called to save him, but WikkiTimes understands the hoodlums overpowered the soldiers and they had to release him to them.
“The hoodlums were stoning the soldiers, telling them to release the suspect to them, but they refused,” another source told WikkiTimes. “The soldiers succumbed to the hoodlums’ pressure and handed the suspect over to them. Unfortunately, they set him ablaze.”
However, there were claims that the victim was notorious for bike snatching along his village. Also, the bank guards claimed it was not his first time trying to steal motorcycles from the bank.
“There was a day he was caught and beaten for attempting to steal a motorcycle,” the guards, Bishop, said. “I begged for his release that it was a mistake and the suspect left that day.”
The spokesman for Niger State Police Command, Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed the incident to WikkiTimes via a statement. However, he declined to comment on the soldiers’ part.
The statement read: “On 09/09/2022 at about 1100hrs, a suspect who was later identified as one Baba Moh’d ‘m’ of Jaagi village, Mokwa LGA was apprehended when he attempted to steal an unregistered Bajaj motorcycle at a bank premises in Mokwa and he was kept with the bank security guards pending the arrival of the police.
“Some hoodlums suspected to be motorcycle (okada) riders numbering over hundred, stormed the bank premises and demanded the release of the suspect, throwing stones and destroyed bank properties, overpowered the security guards, forcefully took over the suspect and set him ablaze.
“The command wishes to admonish members of the public to desist from resulting to acts of self-help, mob violence, jungle justice and inform the Police and other security agencies of incidents for prompt intervention in accordance to the rule of law.”