Ex-Chefs To Ekwueme, Kingibe, Magnus Abe Reveal What Pushed Them Into Crime

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A Beninoise, Victor Didier Deyo, has revealed why he got into crime despite claiming to have worked as a chef to many influential Nigerians including Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Senator Magnus Abe.

The suspect was arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for burglary alongside a compatriot, Joseph Kobeto Taiwo, in the upscale Magodo area of the state on Monday.

He was said to be a linchpin of a syndicate that specialised in planting house-helps in the homes of influential Nigerians to be able to garner vital information needed to rob the owners of their money, jewelry and other valuables.

According to the police, the syndicate usually made the house-helps swear to an oath of allegiance before sending them to such homes.

After successfully pulling off their heist, the police said, all involved returned to Benin Republic to enjoy their loot.

Luck, however, ran out on them when they were arrested by a Special Anti-Robbery Squad team investigating the theft of N200 million worth of jewellery from the home of an influential businesswoman in Ikoyi.

Deyo and Taiwo allegedly planted one Alice Kumoji in the home of the woman as house-help to provide necessary information that led to the heist in January.

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Explaining what pushed him into crime, Deyo told The Nation, “I have been working in Nigeria for many years as a chef. I cooked for big men. I started way back with a salary of N15,000 and grew up to my current wage, which is N100,000 monthly.

“Despite cooking for Nigerian big men, I discovered I was not making progress in life. I was a chef for Babagana Kingibe between 2003 and 2004. They were paying me N35,000. But suddenly, they brought their relative to learn from me and they sacked me after he had learnt how I prepare meals.

“Then, I left and got a job as a chef for Senator Magnus Abe. After a while, I left his place and worked for some Lebanese families. I worked in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

“But each time I visited my country, my people would start telling me how others who came to Nigeria newly had built houses and acquired properties but I do not have anything. It was as if I was not doing enough and it was being used to mock me back home.

“I started wondering how the others were getting their money until I was introduced into the deal in 2002. But I stopped for a long time because I did not get anything the first time.

“I joined because my countrymen who were also chefs to big men were the ones who made me realise that they were getting the money by breaking into rich people’s homes.

“Rich Nigerians like to show off and they keep expensive jewellery and other valuables loosely in their homes. So, what we do is send our people to such rich neighbourhoods where they usually need helps, and our agents will find out where items of interest are kept, communicate and then we would plan the day to break in.

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“We go with our scales used to weigh gold and also a diamond tester. Once we gather the jewellery, we take them to Cotonou where an Alhaji pays for them and we share the proceeds.

“Honestly, I never went for any burglary after 2002 until last year when I met Joseph Kobeto Taiwo. It was through him I joined in the Ikoyi operation in January. The jewellery we got was taken to Alhaji and he gave us CFA 10 million.

“From my share of CFA 2.5 million, I bought a motorcycle and a plot of land. Unfortunately, the land I bought had earlier been sold to other people and so, it was problematic.

“We were arrested in Magodo on our way to breaking into another home. One of our colleagues, who is in Ikoyi Prison, called us about a job there. He said the domestic help he planted there provided information on valuable items and that we should go and steal them so that we would use his share to perfect his bail.

“He gave us the number of the help, a man who was giving us direction on how to get to the house. The plan was to steal those things and then go to Abuja for another burglary before we would return to our country with all the items, but the police arrested us before we could do them.

“It was after our arrest that I knew Alice had been arrested and was also in prison custody.”

On his part, Taiwo claimed to have worked as a chef to Dr Alex Ekwueme and Chief T.O. Benson before being employed by a Lebanese businessman.

He said he took to crime in 2015 after the Lebanese businessman refused to pay his salary for months.

Taiwo said, “He owed me three months salary and he refused to pay, so, I saw his Rolex watch and took it. That was in 2015. I sold it in Cotonou for an equivalent of N2 million.

“Since then, I have been doing it. We get our people who are willing to come to Nigeria and work as cooks or house helps and we make them take oaths to provide information about their employers.

“We put them under pressure in their assigned homes so that they deliver on the assignment. After robbing the house, they leave with us and never return to the area. They are then sent to different locations for the same purpose.

“I also got CFA 2.5 million in the Ikoyi operation in January. We did not know the jewellery was worth over N200 million. It is either the Alhaji cheated us or the woman might have lost most of it in other ways.

“It was only CFA10 million we got from them, and I used my share of the money to do foundation.

“Alice got CFA 2 million from the deal. It was the police that told us she had been arrested and was in prison. I did not know that before now.”

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