We present to you an intriguing topic concerning the life of Lawrence Nomanyakpon, often known as Anini, a notorious and skilled armed robber from Nigeria. As you read the article below, get a cool glass of wine;
Who was Lawrence Anini, first of all?
Together with his accomplice Monday Osunbor, infamous Nigerian armed robber Lawrence Nomanyakpon Anini terrorized Benin City in the early 1980s. He was detained and given a death sentence for his crimes.
Nigeria as a country has dealt with corruption and criminal activity over the years. Nigeria’s past is littered with crimes and criminals who rose to fame as leaders and legends in their own fields.
Many of them have had their names penned down in the record of Nigeria as robbers, who almost destroyed the country, but whatever aspect you look at them, they deserve the roll call of heroes and villains who have terrorized the nation.
For those who grew up around the 80s, the name Lawrence Anini can never be forgotten as one of Nigeria’s most famous armed robbers who reigned in the old Bendel State, now known as Edo and Delta state in the south southern part of Nigeria.
Anini also known as ‘The Law’, he rose to spotlight in the 80s and it was so bloody that his matter was even talked about at the State Security Council conference during the General Ibrahim Babangida’s regime as Nigeria military head of state.
Anini, who was born in 1960 in a village in what is now Edo State about 20 miles from Benin City, moved to Benin at a young age, learned to drive, and gained experience as a taxi driver before getting involved in crime and quickly rising to the position of a feared gang leader whose approach sent people shivering.
He had Monday Osunbor, who was subsequently shown to be a feared killer without mercy, Friday Ofege, Henry Ekponwan, Phillip Iwebelue, Prince Kingsley Eweka, and other members of his gang.
The gang began as car snatchers, bus robbers and bank thieves especially in Benin, Anini, and his gang broadened their criminal acts to other towns and cities in other states in the country.
Anini was also able to enter the police deck and had some top officers as his gun suppliers and whistle-blowers, the biggest of them being police Inspector George Iyamu who benefited greatly from the gang.
In an operation in August of 1986, the Anini team hit at First Bank, Sabongida-Ora, where they carted away N2,000. But although the amount stolen was seen as chicken change, they left the scene of the incident with a trail of blood as many individuals were murdered.
On 6th September 1986, 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 after 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 car believed to have been stolen, also resulted in the snatching of another Peugeot 504 car near the former FEDECO office, in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Two days after, Anini men murdered two policemen in Orhiowon Local Government Area of the Edo State. Still, in that same month, there were reports of three different robbery attacks taken place, all suggested to Anini’s involvement.
A day after the operation, Anini, also known as The Law, turned to a ‘Father Christmas’ as he threw bundles of Naira notes on the floor for free and the notes were picked by market men and women at a village near Benin City.
Anini thus spear-headed a four-month supremacy of terror between August and December 1986. Anini also reportedly wrote several letters to media houses using political tones of Robin Hood-like words, to characterize his criminal deeds.
It got to a point that even the Military Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida became uncomfortable over the activities of Anini and asked the then Inspector General of Police, Etim Inyang where the bandit was and authorized him to get him either dead or alive.
Anini was eventually arrested in a major operation led by Superintendent of Police Kayode Uanreroro, who brought his domination of terror to an end.
He was nabbed on December 3, 1986, at No. 26, Oyemwosa Street, opposite Iguodala Primary School, Benin City, in the company of six women, following a tip-off by dwellers of the neighborhood.