Two full grown armed robbers may have succeeded in grooming these kids into becoming thieves in the future.
Two young boys Ehis Akhimien and Elijah Benjamin, aged 13 and 15 years respectively, have told the police that they were groomed by some grown up armed robbers and forced to burgle houses at the Navy Town Barracks in Lagos.
The kids were arrested by Naval personnel when they sneaked into the barracks to steal from the homes of the officers, carting away valuables estimated at over N500,000.
The suspects told journalists at the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS WEY, shortly before they were handed over to policemen by the Commander, NNS WEY, Commodore Ignatius Iliya, that they usually scaled the fence of the barracks through a bill board close to the wall.
They also stated that they were errand boys to their masters who usually wait on the other side of the fence to receive the stolen goods and give them a paltry N1,000 after each successful operation.
But luck ran out of the kids when they were arrested by a patrol team of naval personnel attached to NNS WEY last week.
13-year-old Ehis Akhiemien, a primary 6 pupil of Assurance Primary School, Kirikiri, said he started stealing four months ago.
"Elijah said we should go to people’s houses to steal. We would jump the fence into the barracks at about 6pm and would hide until it is dark.
Elijah would tear the nets of our victims with blade, from where he stole the items. At times some of the kitchen doors were left opened, thereby facilitating his entry.
On my part, I would be on the look out for any intruder. At the end, we would take the stolen items to our boss who would be waiting for us at the other side of the fence."
Elijah Benjamin stated that they were forced into robbery by their masters whom he called Afeez Lamidi and Abdusalam Garuba.
"We were taken to waterside in Kirikiri by brother Afeez and Abdusalam where we were briefed on how to go and steal.
They threatened that if we did not go and steal they would beat us and even kill us. They also threatened to kill us if we told anyone.
In one of the operations, we came with N50,000. We also got N12,000 and N7,000 in separate operations. At the end of each operation, they would give us N1,000 and pat us on the back for being good boys."