*Life and Death of Nigeria’s Most Notorious Armed Robber
Read the story of Nigeria’s most notorious armed robber in the 80s who was dreaded by the police as he was said to have killed and robbed massively at will, thereby becoming a national threat.
Lawrence Nomanyagbon Anini, was one of Nigeria’s most notorious armed robbers who held sway in the old Bendel State (Now Edo and Delta States).
His reign in the 80s was so bloody that he was even discussed at the State Security Council meeting.
Anini was executed on March 29, 1987, after his conviction by a Benin High Court for armed robbery.
Anini was born in 1960 in a village about 20 miles from Benin City, present day Edo State. Dreadfully called ‘The Law’ or ‘Ovbigbo’, he migrated to Benin at an early age, learned to drive and became a skilled taxi driver.
He became known in Benin motor parks as a man who could control the varied competing interests among motor park touts and operators. He later delved 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 include, Monday Osunbor, Ofege, and others, and 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 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.
In an operation in August of 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, they left the scene with a trail of blood. Many persons were killed.
On September 6, same year, the Anini gang snatched a Peugeot 504 car from Albert Otoe, the driver of an 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, 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 after, the Anini men killed two policemen in Orhiowon Local Government Area of the state. Still in that month, three different robbery attacks, all pointing to Anini’s involvement, took place.
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 thus spear-headed 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.
CLICK ‘2’ BELOW TO CONTINUE READING ON NEXT PAGE