Barely three weeks in office as the Commissioner of Police at the Delta State Police Command as at early May, CP Wale Abass, has left no one in doubt about his readiness to bring crime rate in the state to the barest minimum, if not wipe it out. Sequel to that, he has been giving criminals bruised noses. Over 35 suspected kidnappers, armed robbery suspects, cultists and dealers in ammunition have been arrested. Within the month under review, various categories of weapons like Baretta pistols, double and single-barrel guns and over 500 live ammunition, includ- ing 100 units of AK47 ammunition had been recovered.
One of his strategies, according to him, is a proactive approach to crime fighting in major towns of the state like Warri, Ughelli, and Sapele with the view of nipping crime and criminality in the bud, in order to enable residents and business owners carry out their activities in a peaceful atmosphere. In his inaugural address to officers and men of the command, he articulated his strategies and called on them to carry out their duties diligently, because only result-oriented officers would retain their offices. Few days after his assumption of duty in the state, the command’s operational strategies started to yield positive dividends. On May 09, the DPO ‘A’ Division Warri, CSP T.Y Mahmud, led the Divisional Anti-Crime Patrol Team out on visibility and confidence building patrol, to curtail the activities of kidnappers and armed robbers in Warri and its environs. During the patrol, the team intercepted a tricycle along Eagle roundabout by Ugunu Bridge, conveying three occupants and subjected them to a search.
During the search, 30 rounds of 7.62 AK47 live ammunition were recovered from two of the passengers. Earlier, the Command’s Decoy Squad received an intelligence report on a syndicate that supplies cartridges to kidnappers, armed robbers, and cultists. The operatives, led by the Commander Decoy Squad, ASP Julius Robinson, embarked on a sting operation, at about 0940hrs and arrested one Chinedu Enenmo, 37, of Akere Ogidi, Ogbaru LGA Anambra State at their hideout in one of the popular hotels in Asaba, where they hibernate and carry out their nefarious activities and recovered 250 rounds of live cartridges from the suspect. In the course of investigation, the suspect reportedly gave useful information about his accomplice and led the operatives to Fegge area of Onitsha in Anambra State where one Donatus Ndukan, 34, of Urom community in Awka-North LGA of the state whom he described as his boss in the business was also arrested. Of particular interest were the outcomes of triple operations with remarkable successes on May 18.
At about dusk, acting on an actionable intelligence gathered about a woman who deals on illegal sales of AK47 ammunition, operatives of the Crack Squad raided her premises located close to Effurun Roundabout, Warri. During the raid, the suspect, identified as Queen Uwagbogu, 34, was arrested, and 100 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition were recovered. Early on the same day, operatives attached to Rapid Response Squad (RRS), while conducting stop-and-search at Oworig- bala community along Okpara-Oworh road Ughelli, flagged down a Lexus RS 350, black in colour, with registration number RBC 811 CY. The driver suspiciously offered the operatives bribe, when the offer was rejected, he immediately zoomed off. But noticing that the RRS operatives were hot on his trail and closing in on him, he speedily abandoned the vehicle and escaped into a nearby bush.
The vehicle was recovered, a battle axe, and two iphones were also recovered. The third was the exploits of police operatives at Sapele Division, where the anti-crime patrol on stop-and-search duty at Amukpe Roundabout, Sapele, intercepted an unregistered motorcycle with three occupants. The suspects, upon sighting the police, abandoned the motorcycle, their bags and took to flight. When the bag was searched, two cut-to-size locally made double barrel guns, seven rounds of 7.62 Ak47 live ammunition, 11 live cartridges, and other items were recovered. Sequel to the series of reported cases of armed robbery/kidnapping along Sapele-Warri road and its environs, which have created fear among road users, CP Abass identified this ugly trend as a major security challenge in the state and detailed an intelligence unit of the Command, the CP-Decoy Squad, to embark on a discreet and an intelligence led operation.
The Squad’s leader, ASP Julius Robinson, led operatives of the squad, relocated to Sapele, on a covert operation while acting on credible intelligence apprehended four suspects, through technical intelligence. Further investigation led to the arrest of one Umar Bello, 33, from Sokoto State, but resident in Warri. He was said to be a receiver of phones and other valuables robbed from their victims. A Toyota Corolla with registration number WWR 353 LS, a locally made cut-to-size single barrel pistol, 11 rounds of live cartridges, were recovered from the syndicate.
The command did not stop at that. Sequel to the kidnap of Mr. and Mrs Okutonye Efetobore on April 27, in Ughelli town, and the payment of N1 million to secure their release, CP Abass directed the Command Decoy Squad to embark on an intelligence-led investigation and ensure that the kidnappers were arrested and brought to book. The directive paid off at about mid- night on May 11, the squad, led by its Com- mander, ASP Julius Robinson, acting on credible intelligence, embarked on a sting operation and arrested one Emmanuel James, 32, of Otor-Udu, Ughelli South LGA, who is suspected to be the leader of the gang. In the wee hours of the following day, the suspect led the operatives to Ejewu community, Udu Local Government Area and arrested the syndicate’s driver, one Ejiro Peter, 25, a native of Ethiope East Local Government Area.
They allegedly confessed to their involvement in a series of armed robbery, kidnapping operations in Ughelli and Warri, part of which was the kidnap of Mr and Mrs. Efetobore at Ughellli and collection of N1,000,000.00 to secure their release. The suspects, according to the CP, led the operatives to another notorious member of their criminal gang whose real name is unknown, but fondly called “Oh Lord” at Egbike Area in Udu. The suspect, upon sighting the police, engaged them in a gun duel and escaped through the ceiling of his apartment with bullet injuries. When his apartment was searched, a bag containing a locally fabricated pistol and three rounds of 7.62 AK47 live ammunition were recovered. Manhunt for the fleeing suspect is ongoing.
Manhunt on cultists
Cultists are not spared. According to CP Abbas, operatives of the Command’s Anti- Cult Unit (SACU), while on a joint operation with Dragon Patrol, Safer Highway, Raiders Squad, RRS at Afisere /Ughelli, arrested the duo of Tega Precious, 28, and Ebi Marvelous, 27, and recovered a revolver pistol and two live ammunition. The suspects allegedly confessed to being members of Neo Black Movement (NBM) cult group. They led police operatives to their hideout, where two pump action guns, two double barrel guns, one single barrel gun, and 16 live cartridges, were recovered. Earlier on May 12, in Agbarho, operatives of Agbarho Police Station on- stop-and-search duty sighted a red GLK Mercedes Benz and flagged it down.
The suspect, on sighting the police, quickly alighted from the Benz GLK 350 with registration number WWR 441 MD and escaped into the bush. The vehicle was recovered to the station and searched during which a phone number which turned out to be that of the car owner was seen, and when he was contacted, he confirmed that the car was stolen from him at gunpoint. “Similarly, police operatives of Dragon 19 and 20, along Ughelli-Patani Expressway, flagged down a Toyota Camry with registration number ABC 810 DK. The suspect jumped out from the vehicle and escaped into the bush, but the vehicle was recovered, and investigations revealed that it was snatched at gunpoint in Sapele.”
Several successes have been recorded by operatives at ‘B’ Division Ughelli patrol team on anti-crime patrol along Agbarha- Ughelli Road, who sighted a motorcycle with three male occupants. “They were given a hot chase, during which the three men hurriedly abandoned the motorcycle and fled into the bush, leaving behind their motorcycle and a bag. When the bag was searched, one pump action gun loaded with two live cartridges, 49 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition were recovered along with the motorcycle. On another occasion, operatives of Eagle-Net along Oreorokpe-Sapele Road, intercepted a commercial mini bus for a routine search. They recovered a locally made single barrel gun with five live cartridges concealed in the bag found in possession of one Diarhe. The suspect was arrested and taken to the police station. During preliminary investigation, the suspect confessed that he belongs to the no- torious Eiye confraternity cult group and that his syndicate has been terrorising the Warri and Ughelli axis. He also confessed to be a member of an armed robbery/kidnapping gang and his gang leader is one David Oghotomo Mathew a.k.a “Cucumber”.
CP Abass, while commending the officers and men of the state command for their efforts, also admonished them not to relent as more was expected of them. He assured residents of the command’s readiness to work round the clock to ensure that criminal elements in the state are arrested and brought to justice, even as he solicited cooperation of the public in the provision of reliable intelligence in conformity with the principles and practice of participatory policing.