Nigeria-born Lawrence Anini would become a menace in Benin City during the 1980s after a deal with a corrupt police force fell through. His early life hasn’t been detailed other than him being born outside of Benin City in 1960. Anini’s father died when he was young and he was the only son of three children.
Forming of Anini’s Gang
After moving to Benin City, Anini attended Oza Primary school. He dropped out of Igiedumu Secondary and began working at a mechanic show in 1976. This was his introduction to taxi driving.
The taxi business in parts of Nigeria was very competitive in the late 1970s and into 1980s. Learning to navigate the rivalries and politics in that scene would serve him well in the criminal world in the 1980s.
When Anini finally entered the seedier side of Benin City during the early 1980s, he drove for the larger gangs in the area. This allowed for him to broker relations and become familiar with the underworld’s power circles.
After some time and armed with this knowledge, he would establish his own gang. The ranks were pulled from local small-time criminals hungry to make money. One of these men would be his closest friend and a lieutenant in his bandit pack: Monday Osunbor. Together they would carry out bank and bus robberies and hijack vehicles.
All of this was done with a certain layer of protection from the city’s police. Things would escalate in 1986 when two members of the gang were arrested and tried in court. The deal between the two sides was that the police would make evidence of his gang’s crimes disappear and the gang wouldn’t escalate to violence.
Their crimes up until now were certainly traumatizing to those on the business end of robberies but hadn’t spiraled into violence. With his men behind bars, the agreement the two sides had was now off the table. Lawrence Anini would wage war against Benin City’s police force.