The Federal Government has described as disgraceful and an embarrassment to the country the armed robbery attack carried out by five Nigerians on a bureau de change in the United Arab Emirates.
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora Matters, described as disgraceful the arrest of five Nigerians, for allegedly robbing a bureau de change in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates of about Dh2.3 million (212 million).
The men were caught on camera breaking into the bureau de change and smashing the glass barrier between the customers and the staff before they stole the money and fled.
She listed their names of the armed robbers as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozo, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Nwonka, Toochukwu Leonard Arise and Chile Micah Ndumodu.
“These five boys are a disgrace to this country and an embarrassment. So if UAE decides to be hard on Nigerians, then we will complain that they are hard on us.
“But we will continue to say that one bad apple should not spoil the whole bunch. Nigerians are hardworking, intelligent so these few should not spoil the whole bunch because this has made news all over the UAE now.
“We are going to continue to name those who disgrace the country anywhere in the world, and we will continue to appeal to Nigerians to be good ambassadors wherever they find themselves,” she said.
UAE police authorities said the suspects, in their 20s, eere involved in a seven-minute robbery at the Al Tauwain branch of the Al Ansari Exchange around midnight on March 20.
The police said they had recovered foreign and UAE currencies worth Dh2.3m from the suspects.
Major General Saif Ziri Al Shamsi , the Commander-in-chief of the Sharjah Police, said four of the suspects entered the exchange and attacked its employees, while the fifth was waiting for them in a car outside.
“The suspects also threatened the employees with sharp weapons before taking away cash. The whole operation lasted seven minutes.”
The suspects reportedly smashed the panel at the exchange with hammers and jumped inside the counter, where the safe box was kept. Two of the exchange employees allegedly sustained minor injuries while resisting the suspects.
Al Shamsi said by the time the police were informed about the incident, the suspects had escaped, adding that the employees failed to activate the alarm to alert the police.
The alarm went off four minutes after the raid, which gave the suspects a chance to escape.
However, the police managed to catch up with them through surveillance camera footage.
The gang had reportedly travelled in a used car, which led the police to the first suspect within 48 hours of the crime.
Investigations revealed that the gang members had spread themselves out in other emirates after the robbery to escape notice and had planned to communicate with one another through their Facebook accounts.
Al Shamsi said the police, which had formed a special team, traced their whereabouts and raided their hideouts in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi.
All the suspects were arrested with the help of the police forces in the respective emirates.
During the raids, the police recovered the stolen money and sharp weapons.
The police stated that three of the suspects had resident visas, while two of them were on visiting visas.
The head of the gang had entered the UAE just two days before the robbery and all the five were said to have confessed to the crime and said that they intended to leave the country after the operation.
It was gathered that the case had been referred to the public prosecution office for further action.
Fifteen Nigerians, including four women, were arrested for illegal stay during the search operation.