10 Notorious Criminals in Nigerian History

Every nation of the world has in one way or the other experienced criminal attacks from her citizens or non-citizens. Nigeria, located in West Africa, has also had its own fair share of criminal attacks where the likes of hoodlums, armed bandits and deadly criminals have instilled great fear in the minds of its citizens.

In the course of this article, we would be taking a look at the top 10 most notorious criminals in Nigerian history.

1) Lawrence Anini

Lawrence Nomanyagbon Anini is unarguably Nigeria’s most notorious and deadly criminal in history. Reports has it that he was a Nigerian bandit who caused havoc in Benin city in the 80s together with his accomplice, Monday Osunbor. Lawrence Anini was popularly known as “The Law” or “Ovbigbo”. He was majorly known as a driver for gangs, criminal godfathers and armed robbers. It was reported that he and his gang members began operations as car hijackers, bank thieves and robbers of buses.

Reports also have it that Anini and his gang members successfully robbed 12 banks and killed 18 people in the process. Lawrence Anini and his squad of robbers made it a point of duty to rob banks in broad day light. Their level of confidence was so high that they went about throwing money at market women in order to gain popularity.

After being apprehended, Anini and his gang members were found guilty and were sentenced to death by a firing squad.


2) Dr Ishola Oyenusi

Doctor Ishola Oyenusi who died on the 8th of September 1971, was a popular Armed Robber who wreaked havoc on many Nigerians. His main base was Lagos state just after the end of the dreaded civil war.

The Nigerian police finally arrested Dr Ishola Oyenusi in March 1971. He was apprehended after he and his team of robbers stole a sum of $28,000. He later died that same year but months later after the Lagos state police decided to treat his own case. Dr Ishola Oyenusi would forever be remembered for his boldness and arrogance when it comes to robbery.

3) Shina Rambo

Those who had previously experienced the onslaught of Shina Rambo would never forget him. Shina Rambo just like the other notorious criminal was also an armed robber. According to various reports, he was capable of robbing an entire highway alongside his gang. Meanwhile, while some reports has it that he died while in operation, others said he died as an ordinary man.

Whichever way, he died while he was not using his charm as he was known to be a demigod while he performed operation on busy highways.

4) Derico Nwanmama (Okwudili Ndiwe)

A very popular south east armed bandit, Okwudili Ndiwe was given the title the ‘king of the underworld’. Residents of Onitsha, a commercial place in Anambra state, were the set of people who experienced his onslaught the most. According to sources, Okwudili Ndiwe had allegedly murdered over 100 people which included about 25 police officers. He was known to be a merciless armed robber who robbed buses with his gang members.

Derico Nwanmama also known as Okwudili Ndiwe was a big target for the Anambra State Police Command and they consequently launched an operation aimed at apprehending him as well as his gang members. While a few gang members of Okwidi Ndiwe were caught, the leader himself was still on the run.

However, he did not run for a long time as the Bakassi Boys, known to be the militant wing of the Anambra Vigilante Service set up to reduce crime in the South East, finally got hold of the deadly criminal in Okwidili Ndiwe. Tuesday, July 3, 2001, saw the end of the reign of Derico Nwanmama as he was apprehended by the Bakassi Boys on his way to Onitsha from Agbor.

The Bakassi Boys who were known for their gory justice system paraded Derico Nwanmama round Onitsha and they finally beheaded him in an open square while declining requests from the Nigerian Police to bring him into their custody.

5) Baddo of Ikorodu

Baddo of Ikorodu is placed 5th on the list of the top 10 notorious criminals in Nigerian history. He dealt specially in Ikorodu axis of Lagos state, while molesting children and women and as well robbing people. The Baddo of Ikorodu terrorized Ikorodu for a long period of time while escaping attempts by the police to convict him even after he was arrested multiple times.

However, on one occasion where he got released by the police, the Ikorodu community reportedly became courageous and set the Baddo of Ikorodu on fire, they decided to put a stop to the terror.

6) Abiodun Egunjobi (Godogodo)

Abiodun Egunjobi also known as Godogodo was a deadly criminal who terrorized Lagos and regions of South West. He was also known as the one eyed assassin who killed without mercy and did all sort of atrocities. He was apprehended on the 1st of August, 2013 after series of attempts to apprehend him for over 14 years of his nuisance. According to reports, he was very good at disguising his criminal activities that his wife and his family members never knew that he was a criminal.

Godogodo was a gun lover as he goes for his operations with bags of 10 fully loaded AK 37 rifles. His houses in Lagos, Ondo and Ogun state are also flooded with rifles of different kinds.

7) Isiaka Busari (Mighty Joe)

Just after the death of Ishola Oyenusi, Isiaka Busari also known as Mighty Joe, burst into the scene and came into the criminal limelight. Nigerians at that time, thought that violence had subsided not until the emergence of Mighty Joe. Mighty Joe’s gang included ex-soldiers who knew how to handle a gun perfectly. Mighty Joe and his gang members killed and kidnapped people in South Western region with reckless abandon. He operated at his own time and was even known to be deadlier than Oyenusi.

The nabbing of Mighty Joe was very dramatic.  One of his previous victims recognized him and alerted the police. He was taken away into police custody without any fight and later executed.

8) Kayode Williams

Kayode Williams was a much known Armed Robber before he became a man of God and also the Director General of Prison Rehabilitation Mission International (PREMI). Kayode Williams was a core member of Ishola Oyenusi gang who became known when his boss was caught.

Kayode Williams was a deadly robber who allegedly murdered people without thinking twice. While he confessed, Kayode Williams explained how he pounded little babies and made use of them for spiritual fortification. Kayode Williams was converted to Christianity while he was in Jail for over 10 years.

9) Monday Osunbor

Monday Osunbor was a very good accomplice of Lawrence Anini’s gang. In the gang, he was the one who performed the function of executing people. He had a short temper and wasted no time in killing people.

Monday Osunbor was killed alongside Lawrence Anini in 1987.

10) Abubakar Shekau

Some may argue that a terrorist isn’t necessarily a criminal. However, we believe that anyone who steals the lives of innocent Nigerian citizens is a criminal. Abubakar Shekau is known to be the leader of the deadly terrorist group known as Boko Haram. He and his group are widely known to be a thorn in the flesh of Northerners. He was thought to be born between the years 1965 and 1975 and he is also known as a Kanuri man.

Boko Haram as majority of us knows is a Nigeria militant group that has killed so many lives in the North while declaring loyalty to the Islamist militant group. He is currently alive while still terrorizing the people of Northern Nigeria. Abubakar Shekau, even though still alive, will forever be remembered for leading the terrorist group Boko Haram which has caused havoc in various parts of the country.

Terrorism has no place in Nigeria and the above people have paid the price with their own lives. Terrorism may be difficult to totally eliminate and that is why the people of Nigeria must make sure they are safe wherever they find themselves in.

Most Recently…

11) Evans

Image result for evans

Chukwudi Dumeme Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans, is an alleged kidnapper and armed robber who came into limelight after being arrested in 2017. Onuamadike hails from Nnewi in Anambra State. He is also referred to as “The Billionaire Kidnapper” because the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) believes he is one the richest kidnap kingpins in the history of Nigeria. The Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria police force described Evans as a very smart, crafty, and intelligent kidnapper who evaded arrest for four years despite being on the most wanted list in three states (Lagos State, Edo State, and Anambra State).

Evans is currently undergoing trial on 52 charges of multiple murders, armed robberies, kidnappings, unlawful possession of firearms, unlawful possession of ammunition, conspiracy, among other charges.


Many Nigerians argue that these guys are simply common criminals when compared to the corrupt criminals in the Nigerian government. Not long ago, a bank account containing £211m (approximately N82bn) was traced to a former Nigerian military dictator, General Sani Abacha. Not only that, Alison Madueke, former Minster for Petroleum resources under the Good luck Jonathan led government was also on the news for gross misappropriation of funds up to the tune of 20bn USD.

Read more about Top 10 Greatest Government Loots in Nigeria.

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