The manhunt for Anini became one of the most intense and extensive in Nigeria’s history. The authorities, led by the no-nonsense police officer Chris Omeben, were determined to bring down this criminal mastermind and put an end to his reign of terror. The pursuit of Anini unfolded like a gripping thriller, complete with shootouts, daring escapes, and moments of high tension that held the nation’s attention captive….CONTINUE READING
Anini’s eventual capture and subsequent trial unveiled shocking insights into the depth of his criminal operations. His network was vast and interconnected, involving individuals from various walks of life who facilitated his activities. The revelations during the trial underscored the intricate web of corruption, collusion, and complicity that allowed Anini to thrive.
The legacy of Lawrence Anini continues to cast a long shadow over Nigeria’s history. His story is one of contrasts – a criminal genius whose actions left a scar on the nation, and a symbol of the challenges Nigeria faced during a turbulent era. Anini’s tale serves as a cautionary reminder of the need for vigilant law enforcement, social reform, and a commitment to upholding the rule of law.
Unveiling the story of the infamous Lawrence Anini is not just an exploration of criminality; it’s a glimpse into the complex interplay of society, governance, and the pursuit of justice. Anini’s name will forever be etched in the chapters of Nigeria’s history as a figure who, for a brief period, held the nation captive with his audacity and cunning.
a short profile, of an infamous criminal
Lawrence Nomanyagbon Anini (c. 1960 – March 29, 1987) was a Nigerian bandit who terrorised Benin City in the 1980s along with his sidekick, Monday Osunbor.
Is Lawrence Anini still alive?
He was captured and executed for his crimes.
His reign in the 80s was so bloody that he was even discussed at the State Security Council meeting. Anini was born in 1960, and was executed on March 29, 1987, following his conviction by a Benin High Court for armed robbery.
Anini was born in a village about 20 miles from Benin City in present day Edo State. Anini, dreadfully called ‘The Law’ or ‘Ovbigbo,’ 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.
How was Lawrence Anini caught?
He was finally arrested alongside six women in an operation led by Kayode Uanreroro, a retired Superintendent of Police, on December 3, 1986.
He was caught at a house in Benin City between 2nd and 3rd East Circular Road in the company of a girlfriend. His girlfriend was said to have betrayed him. Anini was shot in the leg, transferred to a military hospital. Several days after he was shot in the leg, one of his legs was amputated.
The country’s military leader, Ibrahim Babangida, demanded a speedy trial. Anini was convicted of most of his charges and was executed on March 29, 1987.
Does Anini have a child?
However, Anini’s first son, did not take the path his father took as years after his death, his first son, Osayi is a graduate of the University of Benin, UNIBEN.
How was Oyenusi captured?
At that point, everyone around joined in the pursuit and he was eventually arrested. To ensure he does not escape, he was first handcuffed and then tied with a marine rope inside a Land Rover jeep and taken to Lagos. The arrest was made on May 7, 1971.
Finally, it took the courage of Superintendent of Police, Kayode Uanreroro, to bring the Anini reign of terror to an end. On December 3, 1986, Uanreroro caught Anini at No 26, Oyemwosa Street, opposite Iguodala Primary School, Benin City, in company with six women.
Acting on a tip-off from the locals, the policeman went straight to the house where Anini was hiding and apprehended him with very little resistance. Uanreroro led a crack 10-man team to the house, knocked on the door of the room, and Anini himself, clad in underpants, opened the door. “Where is Anini,” the police officer quickly enquired.
Dazed as he was caught off guard and having no escape route, Anini all the same tried to be smart. “Oh, Anini is under the bed in the inner room”. As he said it, he made some moves to walk past Uanreroro and his team.
In the process, he shoved and head-butted the police officer but it was an exercise in futility. Uanreroro promptly reached for his gun, stepped hard on Anini’s right toes and shot at his left ankle. Anini surged forward but the policemen took hold of him and put him in a sitting position.
They then pumped more bullets into his shot leg and almost severed the ankle from his entire leg. Already, anguished by the excruciating pains, the policemen asked him, “Are you Anini?” And he replied, “My brother, I won’t deceive you; I won’t tell you lie, I’m Anini.”
While in the police net, Anini who had poor command of English and could only communicate in pidgin, made a whole lot of revelations.
He disclosed, for instance that Osunbor, who had been arrested earlier, was his deputy, saying that Osunbor actually shot and wounded the former police boss of the state, Akagbosu
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 terrorised 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 squeal, revealing the 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 George Iyamu, who was the most senior police officer shielding the robbers, would reveal police secrets to them and then, give them logistic supports such as arms, to carry out robbery operations.
Trial and execution
Due to amputation of his leg, Anini was confined to a wheelchair throughout his trial. He was sentenced to death by Justice James Omo-Agege and executed on March 29, 1987.
How old was Lawrence Anini when he died?
27 Years (1960 -1984)
How much did Anini steal?
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
In the annals of Nigerian history, the enigmatic figure of Lawrence Anini stands as a symbol of criminal audacity and cunning that left an indelible mark on the nation’s collective memory. Known as “The Law,” Lawrence Anini’s reign of terror in the 1980s earned him the distinction of being one of the most wanted criminals in Nigeria’s history.
Anini’s rise to infamy began in the bustling city of Benin, where he orchestrated a string of high-profile robberies, daring bank heists, and brazen acts of violence that sent shockwaves through the nation. His criminal enterprise was characterized by meticulous planning, audacious execution, and an uncanny ability to evade capture, earning him a reputation that would endure for decades.
What set Anini apart from other criminals was not just his criminal prowess, but also the unprecedented wave of terror he unleashed upon the nation. His reign coincided with a period of political and economic uncertainty, which made him a feared symbol of lawlessness. His ability to seemingly outsmart the police and navigate a complex network of collaborators and informants only added to his mystique.
This video features Lawrence Anini, along his associate, Monday Osunbor, who were subsequently sentenced to death by firing squad
It’s noteworthy to mention that during the early 80s, the major urban centers of Lagos and Bendel (now as Delta & Edo) held significant prominence pic.twitter.com/MBGSodRuLD
— Mo-Mo (@Morris_Monye) August 18, 2023
Where did Anini died?
The police were after him in full force, caught and tried him along with his friends in crime. They were condemned to death. On Saturday March 28, 1987, they were tied to the stake at Ekenwan Road, Benin and executed. At the stake, Anini sweated profusely.
Who is the most notorious armed robber in Nigeria history?
Here are some of the most notorious armed robbers in Nigerian history….CONTINUE READING
Ishola Oyenusi. Known as the “Doctor of Robbery,” Oyenusi was one of Nigeria’s most notorious armed robbers in the 1970s. …
Lawrence Anini. …
Monday Osunbor. …
Shina Rambo. …
Evans the Kidnapper. …