Shina Rambo was a very popular bandit who terrorized South-West Nigeria in the 1990's. He stole, killed, was invincible to the police and actually claims to have given himself up to be caught. He was released from prison after serving eleven years at Agodi Prisons in Ibadan. He claims a chance encounter in prison with Prophet T.O Obadare changed his life. The former kingpin and serpent to security agencies is now a professed Evangelist and maverick preacher who is as meek as a dove.
In this encounter with Sina Fadare, he poured out his mind on how he tormented Lagosians, the police and how he snatched 42 exotic cars in a day.
What's your background and where are you actually from?
It is true that people are always confused about where l come from. Actually my father came from Abeokuta in Ogun State, but I from Sanbogida-Ora in Edo State. That is where my mother came from and where l lived all my early life.
How did you acquire the name Sina Rambo?
There is a saying in Yoruba that a child acquires any name that suits him when he was not in his place of birth. That was the appellation l was given in those days when l ventured into the world of crime. The name that was given to me at birth was Omokenwa, meaning a child is the one that takes care of the home. The meaning of Sina Rambo stands for a team or a group of deadly squad with a mission. I was the Rambo. Therefore, the merging of Shina with Rambo is just like any organisation like cooperative society which has each name to identify their group, yet they belong to the same cooperative society. To those people who thought that l came from Cotonou, Republic of Benin, or Sabongida- Ora, they are all correct because wherever you are living or place you are used to, that is your home. Though my father is from Abeokuta, many people did not know me there because apart from Cotonou where my operating business took me, l lived my adolescent life in Edo State, the place of my mother.
At what point in your life did you veer into crime?
Everything comes down to the lackadaisical attitude of my parents in taking adequate care of my need when l was growing up. My father was a military man who married virtually everywhere he was posted to in his career; this gave him the opportunity to have many wives. One of the early memories l could recollect which l will never forget in my life was that my father was the first person to cut me with a cutlass. That is why l said that the nonchalant attitude of my parents dragged me into the world of crime.
Was that actually what led you into crime?
I will say that the moment a child lacks parental care, love and attention, such a child is being nursed towards crime. In my own case it was a combination of many things that led me to the world of crime. Poor and not caring family, later my business was almost grinded when some of my goods were confiscated. Along the line, my younger brother was also killed; in the mission of avenging l was gradually involved in crime and before l knew it l wanted to excel in it. What we called the real Shina Rambo lives inside.
Your name created tremor among people in society, the security operatives inclusive, how did you get such power?
If a child knows how to wash his hand well, definitely he will eat with the elders. I know how to appease the elders, therefore anything l need from them l usually get it. Now that l am in Christ, l know better. The fact is if you decide to eat with the devil, make sure you do it to a logical conclusion and if you want to follow Christ, let him be your sole companion in anything that you are doing. I got power in the world of devil, and l followed it to a logical conclusion. In the world of the devil, police or any security has nothing to do with us, as a daredevil robber then. There are certain things which an armed robber should have. The first is what you call afoola. We used many human beings to do this native medicine, including a foetus in his mother's womb.
The second is ikiya (boldness). This will give you the audacity and effrontery to do anything at any time no matter how dangerous the venture is. The third one is that anybody who wants to venture into highlevel robbery must be ready to squeeze all the water inside his eye and use it for a powerful medicine, so that there is nothing that would happen that such a person will cry again, no matter how devastating or big such a calamity is. I searched for power from the demons of various types, inside the most powerful water called water of the world at a town called Ogoja. All leaders of the world who are actually looking for power used to go inside this water. At that point when I was on operation l will put on the appearance of different types of people to the extent that it was difficult for anybody to identify my real being. There is no amount of picture that you took that you will get a clear view. That was why when they said that, 'Oh! they have killed Shina Rambo,' but it was another person that they would kill instead. From that place, l went to Oke Idanre and later Enugu and Abeokuta to look for power that can make me to be invisible at will.
I was able to have a magical power that allowed me to look differently in eight places. At Abeokuta, the nine herbalists that did the medicine for me were killed so that one day they will not reveal the secret behind the medicine to any mortal. There is a place in Oyo State called Fiditi; lawyers also go there to look for power. Along the line l entered into different cults that are very powerful. There they have to change my body because l was buried alive for seven days in the burial ground and my soul was kept in a small coffin. After the seventh day, l became powerful and more dangerous, too hot to be handled by anybody. Again l went inside the Iroko tree to seek for power. In fact, you will not believe the number of houses that you will find inside the Iroko tree, its a whole town inside the tree. When you get there, you are going to chant some incantations and the door will open, you will see various types of people engaging in activities like selling, eating, having meeting and doing all sorts of things done in the physical world. When l went there, we entered through the ninth door before we entered the town. I was able to do this because l was able to produce for the elders what they needed, so they were ready to give me what l wanted and ready to take me to wherever it would be possible for me to get what l wanted. There was a time l was taken to a burial place with 15 heads to go and to collect some charms from the spirit. From there, l was fortified to the extent that there is no bullet that could enter my body, it will just be like pure water.
What is your relationship with the police?
Normally we and the police are supposed to be enemies, but unfortunately a lot of them are our friends. There are some policemen who are mere saboteurs; they love money more than the job. Such police officers are mole in the force because they sell vital information to robbers and most of the time turned their back when their “friends” are on the road. At this point in time, it is people like us who could assist government to nab criminals because l know their antics and modus operandi. Not all of police are bad, but there are some moles among them that are spoiling their good work. These few ones know the real robbers and most of the time assist them (robbers) to achieve their deadly mission.
You were once rich and famous where is the wealth today?
In the first instance, where did all the luxuries come from? No matter how plenty the devil gives, it is for a short period, he will collect it back. No matter how smart you are, any covenant with the devil, you are going to lose at the end. It is the devil that will give you a cap and in return asking buba and gele from you. Vanity upon vanity all is vanity. There is nothing that one can gain from the devil apart from frustration and humiliation; at the end you are going to have disappointment. You can imagine when I would strike and snatch more than 30 cars. I once snatched over 42 cars in a day. Some of the cars I gave to whomever I wanted. I had so much then. Paul said in Philippians 3:7-13 “But, all that amounted to profit for me in life, I have now seen as loss in Christ”. Verse 13 now says, “Brethren, I have forgotten the things that are behind, I press towards things ahead.” In Psalm 126:1, the same Bible tells me that “when God returns the loss of Zion, we would be like them that dream”. I know that to rise in Christ is the responsibility of every member of the household of faith. The Holy Spirit would use every true Christian to put on real genuine footing. The devil gave me so much at that time and it took what it gave me. If I have to recall the painful details and the anguish, it does not worth it because I am a new creature. What has been destroyed cannot be restored just like that. We are now in Christ, he owns and dispenses eternal joy, when we end our race here, we would return to our eternal home: heaven, where there is no weeping, no anxiety, anguish, hunger and pain.
Do you have any godfather?
Definitely. When we were in Edo, we had our godfather who is always there for us anytime we went on operation. It was the same place that the likes of Anini, a.k.a. the law and Monday Osunbor Pero, and Lucky learnt the rudiment of robbery. We sprung up from one source.
What usually comes to your mind any day you are going for operation?
The first thing that readily came to mind was that 'the dead must be done'. But before that, we must first ask people who owns the world how the day would look like before we step out. There is a charm called atona (Pathfinder) that we consult before we go out. It would tell us what we are going to do and which sacrifice we are going to make before we move out. Again there is what we call eru (fear) which has been deposited into my body, wherever l go, that fear will not let you challenge my authority.
Where and how did you get the ammunition you were using?
As I told you that my father was a military man, from the beginning gun had been assembled and dismembered in our house. Innocently, my father will be doing this virtually on a daily basis and he tells me to go and bring one or two things that had connection with the gun in the house and at the end he would put the gun together as one. From that daily experience l knew how to handle a gun and by the time l left him, there was no gun l could not put together. Ironically, what parents did not take serious and handle with levity, the kids are fast learning and before you know it, they have mastered the act. If it is a bad habit, the family will definitely pay for it. The gun l was using then was in pieces when brought from outside the country. I later put it together to make it a complete gun. After that l return it into the world of darkness where it was changed to the gun of the elders. After this l just recite a few incantations to the gun and whatever l ask the gun to do is what it will do.
However there is no gun that l cannot handle a few minutes after studying it.
Those who are working with you, how were they trained?
There is always time for training; we teach them how to handle it and how to get their target. It was an extensive training which we normally do most of the time especially when we are going on operation. All those that are working with me are all in the same cult, they know our dos and don'ts, we have gone to many places together, that was why it was difficult for the police to kill anyone of us. There is a general charm that the death that is meant to kill anyone of us should kill outsiders. There are some incantations to back it up and it would be backed up in the world of darkness. Therefore anywhere we go on operation, instead of recording any casualty, it is the people around that will die.
Can you recollect how many people your gun had killed?
No, they are just plenty that l cannot remember. Aside from this, l used a lot of people for sacrifice that l cannot even remember. I don't want to remember those dark days.
Now that you are a pastor, do you believe that there is a curse that actually affected your destiny?
You are right. There is a saying in Yoruba that it is only in war that one can die accidentally, but a curse has a target and no matter the year it was invoked it will still be operational. That crisis and curse entered my life when l was still in my mother's womb. My father is a polygamist and one day there was a quarrel between my mother and my father's mother. Then l was told that my father's mother invoked a curse on my mother that she will never deliver me in peace otherwise she is not from Ikereke (a town in Oyo State) and my mother replied that she will have a normal delivery as God lives otherwise she will not serve God if she comes in the next word. From that altercation from both, the curse entered into my life and l carried the curse and the burden until l met Christ.
How do you handle women and wine?
I engaged in all what you can call devilish ventures, like smoking of Indian hemp, wine and in the company of women of easy virtue. I was in a hotel with about 58 women playing with me, but the warning from the world of darkness is that l should not take any of them to bed. The instruction l followed to the letter. Then l love women but there was a boundary which l must not cross. I am compelled to have fun with my only wife who knew my entire venture into the world of darkness. That was why all the women sent to me cannot do anything to me. Though l spent for them, but that was just the limit l could go.
Is it true that you once spent N50 million a day?
How many of that do you want to count, plenty? There was a time we went for an operation in Lagos, and it seemed we were in a tight corner, we just decided to be giving out the money to the people in order to escape. There was commotion, everybody was trying to pick as many naira notes as they can pick.
Did your friends know the type of person you were?
You know birds of the same feather always flock together. The so-called friends that l was moving with as at then were also into one form of shady deals or the other. But the funny thing is that nobody could identify my being with what l was doing. Even if some of them know me they cannot say it out because it was too dangerous and there was nobody l cannot kill. I usually come out in different faces which made it difficult for anybody to really identify me. That was the power given to me in the world of darkness.
Who was the lady that used to accompany you to all operations?
She was not a human being, though people referred to her as an alhaja, but she was a demon donated to me in the world of darkness. She will dress the way l dressed and must always be with me any time I am going out on operation. She is the one that was picked from the kingdom of Satan to be my partner.
How did you meet Christ?
It was such a miraculous way. I met Christ at a cross road. It was a miracle l did not expect. I met Christ through Prophet T. O. Obadare. I made myself available to the police and l have to bear all the detention and all the agonies l faced for about 11 years. A lot of Christian brothers rallied round me with conviction that l should give my life to Christ. Then Papa Obadare came to me in the prison that though l was expecting death, God has removed death from my head if I am ready to surrender everything to him. In my own thinking l thought all was over, with all the atrocities l had committed, but God showed me mercy and gave me the second chance. So when l slept, l saw that the cloth of yoke and burden was removed from my neck, l was off from the bondage of Satan, a new cloth was given to me. By the time l woke up, l was talking in tongues. From that encounter, for the first time in my life that my soul would calm down, l learnt how to pray. I stopped taking cocaine and Indian hemp. Everything about me became new.
What do you think government can do to stop robbery?
The simple truth is that we cannot stop robbery, but we can reduce it to the barest minimum, because we asked for it. In Matthew 27, we asked for it. They said Barnabas should be released instead of Jesus Christ, when Pilate said that this man did not commit any sin. They said no way, release Barnabas and let his blood be on us and on our children. Ever since then robbery and killing became the order of the day. Government should be able to tap from the wealth of experience of people like us who can decode a lot of knotty issues as regard how to curb the menace of armed robbery. Some of those that are inside the prison are not supposed to be there. By the time they are out, they become hardened criminals. I pray that God will help us to make things work in this country, if he could locate me from the pit of darkness where l sojourned, and now in Christ, he will deliver the country from bad leaders who make things difficult for the masses.
Meanwhile, there seems to be another Shina Rambo killed by the police in the 90's. Police record indicates that the seemingly real Shina Rambo has for long been killed in a shoot-out and buried unsung.
Then who is this man?