By: Sam Obinna Ibe
Commissioner of Police for Abia state, CP Chris Ezikpe has stated his determination to rid the state of crimes and criminality by parading 57 crime suspects of sundry offenses including Armed robbery, Employment scam, kidnapping, possession of firearms and cultists among others.
Among those paraded included: 14 suspected armed robbers, 18 empowerment scam suspects, 5 cultist, 2 kidnapping suspects, 9 IPOB members etc.
Parading the suspects during a press conference in Umuahia, the newly posted Commissioner of Police, Ezike further explained that on resumption of office, and following complaints from members of the public especially in Aba about the unscrupulous activities of some individuals/groups who masquerade as empowerment companies, church cooperative group, poverty/Alleviation units and wonder financial institutions, his men swung into action.
He said he set up an investigative panel to aggregate the complaints to determine the scale, extent of suspected fraud and unmasked the brains behind the scam.
Ezike said at the end of the investigation, it was discovered that the fraud was pervasive and had the potentials of crippling retail activities in Aba where the scam was massive reiterated that the total of 22 groups, and 18 suspects where arrested, also received 6,728 complainants and the total of 91,182369.69 was discovered while the total amount of 7,933,900.00 was recovered
The police disclosed that the suspects are mainly women and they go with various names such as unlimited ladies, raising life association, virtuous ladies aka loveable, unique empowerment, perfect ladies forum, excellent ladies, merit ladies forum, great mines, Christian ladies, faithful ladies.
Others include favor empowerment, Divine ladies empowerment, Delight ladies, successful ladies, Glory empowerment, unstoppable ladies, Favour empowerment, Nwankpa Nneka Regina forum, Ever better empowerment, peculiar empowerment, East gold global resources and multi-purpose cooperative society
The police also paraded IPOB/MASSOB/BIM members, among those arrested included, Ikedi Orji, Samuel Elem, Festus Oko, Michael Okoroafor, Oko Chukwu, John Ogbu, Cyril Elobuike and Dominic Onovo.
Speaking on their offenses, the police said on 25/11/2018, soldiers on duty at Abia state university, Uturu military checkpoint intercepted the first five suspects all from Ebonyi state en route Owerri and the last four was intercepted near Lokpanta in Umuneochi en route Enugu to Owerri.
He said on interrogation all suspects averred membership of MASSOB/BIM and denied IPOB membership, he disclosed that intelligence information is indicative that the suspects may be part of the IPOB group that unleashed mayhem in some states recently.
Speaking with some of the suspects claimed they where MASSOB members and not members of IPOB, they said the court have granted them bail but the police failed to released them rather decided to parade them with other suspected criminals.
The police further revealed that detectives from Area command Umuahia, while on surveillance patrol of the area at Mbom Afara Ibeku Umuahia, accosted four men with one automatic English made double barrel gun. Three Dane guns and nineteen cartridges, all male whom they claimed they where hunters but needed to explain why they are in possession of prohibited firearms.
Speaking to journalists, Udodirim Nwandu and William Enoch said they were hunters who were returning home after hunting. They said when they were accosted by the police they show the police their Abia state Hunters Association identity card but were surprised that the police went further to arrest them with the animals they killed and took them to the police station.
They maintained that the gun used for the hunting was hunters gun licensed and approved adding that what the police is doing to them is unjust.