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Shina Rambo (born c. 1963) is a former bandit who
terrorised South-West Nigeria in the 1990s. After
serving jail-time for his crimes, he was converted by
an evangelist and became a Christian evangelical
pastor.Shina Rambo now Mathew Oluwanifemi was a
name that sent shivers down the spine of people who
lived in the South West of Nigeria and even outside
Nigeria, like Benin Republic and neighborhood, in the
1990s.
He was a hardened criminal, a terror and killer, one
whom men of the security agencies will never forget
in a haste.
A man mountain, towering about 6 ft 5inch, well built,
dark skinned and sweltering eyes, he carried out his
operations, like a movie, in the broad day light, with
sophisticated weapons, and bullet belts and
explosives strapped roundabout him.
He specialized in robbing exotic cars on highways
and banks. Nothing could stop him, not even security
operatives, he was totally invincible. He was Shina
Rambo!He was born in the year 1958 to a military
man who was a bad egg in the service. His father was
from Abeokuta in Ogun state, but his mother was a
native of Sabongida–Ora in Edo state.
His father had over 18 wives, as was the norm for
soldiers to impregnate virtually every woman they
met where they were posted to.His father used his
military influence to rob innocent citizens, and always
brought huge amount of money home.
This used to entice little Shina. He recalls, “I
remembered when I was about 7 years old, my father
came home with a lot of money, foreign currencies,
with blood on it, and they were using something like
a woman’s scarf to wipe it, then I asked him, is this
an animal’s blood, or human blood? But he wouldn’t
answer me, they were just drinking, smoking, and
merry making.
”Shina was already indoctrinated into the underworld
by his father at a tender age of 7 without him
knowing it, as he would sit in front of his son, to
dismantle and assemble all sorts of weapons and
then polishing them in preparation for an operation.
This went on for so long till one day, little Shina,
entered into his father’s room while he had stepped
into the toilet, and saw a dismembered gun on the
floor.
He sat down in front of it, and bit by bit, he had
assembled it effortlessly in no time at all. His father
came out of the toilet, and saw his son, with a loaded
gun in his hands. Shina flashed back and said, “That
day my father was so disappointed, that he wanted to
kill me, he grabbed the gun from my hand and shot
straight at me, but I miraculously escaped out of the
room.Then he waited for me to be less alert at night
he came to my room with a machete and tried to
behead me, but once again, I escaped, but the
machete caught my left leg. (rolled up his trouser to
show us the large scar, that made everyone sighed in
pity).
It cut me so deep I thought I was never going to walk
again. That day I knew I had graduated, all that was
left was to pull the trigger, and I was so eager. Shina
Rambo became so notorious in no time, and was hell
bent on succeeding in his career as an armed robber,
that he went through any length to secure spiritual
powers for fortification.
To the extent of pounding over 27 live new born
babies in the mortar with a pestle, cutting off about
100 human tongues and cooking them to eat, visiting
the spiritual river called river of life in Ogoja, Cross
Rivers State, living in an Iroko tree for days, and
sleéping in the cemetery.
He was given a spiritual wife who always followed
him for any operation, she dressed like an Alhaja,
people thought she was human, but she was a spirit,
that was why they never saw her face.
He said she was his personal driver, that she could
drive from Nigeria to Cotonou, in the speed of light.
Hear him. ”I was involved in so many rituals, that I
can’t start naming them now, I was so powerful, I
went underground, inside trees that looked like a city,
a lot of beautiful houses inside the tree, I had my
own too, I went into a river called River of life in
Ogoja, where a lot of politicians and wealthy men
used to come, I had several personalities, I could
change my form whenever I wanted to, that’s why the
police were busy killing innocent people, and thought
they were killing Shina Rambo.
The 9 herbalists that gave me that power, I became
stronger than them, one day I went to their shrines,
and killed all of them, so that they don’t reveal my
secrets. I had too many powers; my spiritual wife
could drive any car in this world or out of it, no police
vehicle, or anyone for that matter, could ever chase
and catch me during an operation.
She was out of this world, and when she had
completed her operation, they took her away from
me. I could give anything to get powers, and the
elders knew, so they also gave me anything I wanted.I
once beheaded hundred men, and gave them the
heads fresh, they were so happy with me that they
made me invincible.
No matter the kind of bullet you shot at me, it was
just like pure water on my body. I could give anything
to get power, but of all the things I did to get power,
the one that still breaks my heart the most, is
sléeping with my mother. My father is dead now, but
my mother is still alive, and she lives with me she is
85 years old, whenever I set my eyes on her, I just
start crying.
I can`t bear it. Shina Rambo was a raging terror, he
was infallibly dangerous, the police dreaded him,
both in Nigeria, and Benin Republic, his place of
interest for business.
He would go to police stations, in broad daylight and
kill every policeman there, drive to check points and
open fire on every policeman on duty, he didn’t like
the police at all, and was never afraid of them, he
operated in broad day light armed to the teeth
looking like Johny Rambo, in the popular Sylvester
Stalone movie, “First Blood”.
He once robbed 40 exotic cars in one day and drove
all of them in a convoy, from Lagos to Cotonou,
unstopped. He was powerful; he was wealthy, and
impenetrable. He was a tin god, apparently belched
from the very arroyo hell, we all dreaded him. He had
a wife and three children, but he lost all of them in
one day during a bloody police raid whilst he was
away on operation.
His wife was his stabilizing factor his life changed
afterwards. He says “my wife was everything to me,
I was forbidden by the elders to sléep with any other
woman apart from her, I could gather about 50
women around me in a hotel, and they will just be
playing with me, we would smoke, drink, and sniff
cocaine, I will give them money but I will never sleép
with them. I will go back home to my wife and sleép
with her. That was why the police never caught me.
She knew my job, she knew what I was, I never left
them alone at night, I operated in the day time and
go back home to my family at night.
I had everything, I was very wealthy, I once spent 50
million naira in a day. I did it a lot, there was one day
that we were coming from an operation and it
seemed as if my powers were going to fail me, the
police and the army were almost closing in on us, so
we had to drive into a crowd and threw millions of
naira in the air, there was commotion, everybody
was busy picking naira notes even the police, until we
escaped.
I was too rich, but anything the devil gives you never
lasts, he will collect more from you, it’s only the devil
that will give you Fila, (cap) and ask for Iro and Buba.
(wrapper and top). I lost everything, all the money,
my family; I was so powerful the police couldn’t catch
me but I lost it all.I had to surrender myself to the
police, and I was arrested and jailed for 11 years.
When I was serving my jail term in Agodi prisons,
Ibadan, Prophet T.O Obadare came visiting, and
having been encouraged several times by the
Christian brothers and sisters in the prison to give
my life to Christ, he prayed for me and converted me,
and changed my name to Oluwanifemi, and it was so
miraculous, the next day I woke up and started
speaking in tongues. It was during the time of
President Olusegun Obasanjo, that we were granted
freedom.
At this point, I was glued to my seat, the revival
where Shina Rambo gave this exclusive confession
was on an open ground revival in the ancient city of
Ibadan, right in front of me, on stage, was Evangelist
Mathew Oluwanifemi, the once feared Shina Rambo,
clad in a loose fitting shirt, black pants and a pair of
leather sandals with a black Holy Bible in his hands,
gigantic dark skinned and bald headed, still had those
fiery looks, and stealth movement.
I was more transfixed than focused, God is indeed
awesome, he picked the offering basket raised it to
the congregation prayed and asked who had anything
to give to God, at first I was reluctant, my mind was
occupied and out of an innate compulsion, sheer
curiosity I stood up, dipped my hand in my pocket
walked towards him briskly and calculatedly brought
out my offering, dropped it into the basket, and
looked deep into his eyes, I had too many things to
ask him, there were too many questions unanswered.
He looked back at me, and spoke in Yoruba, saying
God bless you my brother; we know your type when
we see them.The congregation broke into a mild
giggle, as all eyes were on me as I went back to my
seat, with a lot of things on my mind, and the red
light on my midget still blinking, in the breast pocket
of my jacket…