For those who grew up in the 80s, the name Lawrence Anini can never be Forgotten as one of the most notorious Armed Robbers in the old Bendel State, now known as Delta and Edo state.
Anini was popularly known as the law, reigned supreme in the 80s and was so notorious that his case was discussed at the state council meeting during the regime of General Ibrahim babangida’s regime as the Nigeria military Head of State .
Anini was born in 1960 in a village about 20 milles away from Benin city in present day Edo State.
Anini left for Benin at a very early Age , learned how to Drive and become a skilled Taxi driver.
Anini later took to crime and quickly became a Feared Gang Leader . His members include Osunbor, Friday Ofege , Henry Exponwan , Philip Iwebelue, Prince Kingsley Emaka and others .
The notorious Group start as a car snatchers , bank robbers and thieves in Benin , there letter expanded their criminal acts to the other towns and cities in the other state of the country.
Anini was said to have connections with police ranked officer know as George Iyamu as his informants and gun suppliers.
The Anini gang struck at first bank, around August 1986, where there made away with #2000 naira at sabongida ora.
There left the scene with a trail of Blood as many where killed and injured.
On 6 th of September 1986 , Anini gang snatched a Peugeot 504 car from Albert Otoe , the Driver of an Assistant Inspector General of Police , Christopher Omeben , which the driver was killed in the process.
Another Peugeot 504 car was snatched again , by his gang few days at the former FEDCO office in the Benin city. After Anini men killed two policeman in Orhiowon Local Government Area of Edo state.
Anini was sported at the beniy market threwing naira note on the ground for market men and women to pick.
He wrote numerous letters to media house using political tones of Robin Hood to describe his notorious act.
The military Head of State Gen Ibrahim Babangida got worried over the notorious activities of Anini and asked the Inspector to gave him the mandate dead or Alive .
Anini was finally Arrested in an operation led by superintendent of police Kayode Uanreroro ,Photo credit: Nigeria story on Twitter
Anini was shot in the leg, transferred to a military hospital, and had one of his legs amputated. When Anini’s hideout was searched, police recovered assorted charms, including the one he usually wore around his waist during “operations”. It was instructive that after Anini was captured and dispossessed of his charms, the man who terrorized a whole state and who was supposed to be fearless suddenly became remorseful, making confessions. This was against public expectation of a daredevil hoodlum who would remain defiant to the very end.
Shortly after the arrest of Anini and co, the dare-devil robbers began to revealthe roles played by key police officers and men, in the aiding and abetting of criminals in Bendel State and the entire country. Anini particularly revealed that Iyamu, who was the most senior police officer shielding the robbers, would reveal police secrets to them and then, give them logistical supports such as arms, to carry out robbery operations. He further revealed that Iyamu, after each operation, would join them in sharing the loot. It was further exposed how Iyamu planned to kill Christopher Omeben, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Intelligence and Investigation. But Iyamu was later to be disappointed as the assailants dispatched to eliminate Omeben were only able to kill his driver, Otue, a sergeant. Iyamu, whom the robbers fondly referred to as ‘Baba’, reportedly had choice buildings in Benin City; proof of how he invested the loot he obtained from men of the underworld.
Due to the amputation of his leg, Anini was confined to a wheelchair throughout his trial. Iyamu, on his part, denied ever knowing and collaborating with Anini, but Anini The Law furiously retorted, “You are a shameless liar!” Anini had accused him before Justice James Omo-Agege in the High Court of Justice in Benin City. Of the 10 police officers Anini implicated, five were convicted. The robbery suspects, including Iyamu, were sentenced to death. But in passing his judgement, Justice Omo-Agege remarked, “Anini will forever be remembered in the history of crime in this country, but it would be of unblessed memory. Few people if ever, would give the name to their children.” Their execution took place on March 29, 1987 .