Dozens of suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/ Eastern Security Network (ESN) have been arrested in connection with the attacks on police stations and offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ebonyi State.
The Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi, Aliyu Garba, paraded the suspect alongside others on Monday at the Police Headquarters in Abakaliki, the state capital.
He noted that police operatives acting on credible intelligence burst suspected IPOB/ ESN members numbering 39 at a meeting with a native doctor in the Agubia Ikwo.
Garba explained that in the course of an investigation, the police discovered that the group was responsible for the attacks on some security formations during which some police and military operatives were killed, and their arms were stolen.
He also paraded others involved in the attacks on some of the offices of INEC in the state, as well as suspected armed robbers, car snatchers, among others.
Read the full text of the police commissioner’s briefing below:
PRESS BRIEFING/PARADING OF 60 SUSPECTS ARRESTED FOR DIFFERENT OFFENCES BY THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE EBONYI STATE CP. ALIYU GARBA PSC+ HELD AT POLICE HEADQUARTERS, ABAKALIKI ON MONDAY 21ST JUNE, 2021.
Gentlemen of the press, it is with great honour and sense of responsibility that I welcome you all on behalf of the officers and men of Ebonyi State Police Command, to yet another press briefing today Monday, June 21st, 2021.
The briefing is an account of my stewardship and to highlight the recent successes recorded in our crime-fighting efforts through Operational strategies emplaced to achieve the goals of Operation Restore Peace (RP) as inaugurated by the Inspector General of Police. Without wasting much of your time, permit me to X-ray some of the achievements as follows:
CONSPIRACY/MURDER/ ARMED ROBBERY AND THE ARREST OF SUSPECTED SELF-CONFESSED ESN/IPOB MEMBERS;
At about 1830hrs of 23/5/2021, while acting on credible information suspected ESN/ IPOB members were meeting at Agubia Ikwo in the resident of one Ebube Ivom ‘m’ age 31yrs, their suspected ESN/IPOB Sector Commander.
The said meeting had in attendance a Cross River State-based native doctor (Ezemuo), who was invited to fortify members of the group with marks on different parts of their bodies, as antidotes to bullets in preparation to attack Onueke Divisional Headquarters and INEC office both in Ezza South Local Government Area of the State by 8:30pm of the same day, 23rd May, 2021.
On the strength of the information, the command swiftly deployed a team of Police Operatives in collaboration with Neighbourhood Watch of Ikwo, in the process thirty-nine (39) male suspects, made up of indigenes of Ebonyi State and two non-indigenes from neighbouring Abia State were arrested and large quantities of juju charms were recovered from them together with living creatures such as Tortoise and hawk.
Eight (8) of these suspects made useful statements to the Police, while one of them, Elom Daniel ‘m’ age 17 years took Police Operatives to their hideout at Agbaja-Izzi community in Abakaliki Local Government Area of the State, where the owner of the house escaped leaving behind his wife and a child. Upon intensive search of the house/premises, the following items were recovered:
o One (1) Ak 47 Riffle with Thirty-five (35) live ammunitions
o Two (2) AR Riffles with Eight (8) live ammunition, Eight (8) magazines.
o Two (2) locally fabricated Improvised Explosive (tested and certified).
o Five (5) Machetes.
o One Police belt.
o Some Juju charms.
Elom Daniel narrated that he specialized in drawing the map of any planned area to be attacked by the group before execution; he further admitted that the meeting at their State Sector commander’s resident was to attack Onueke Divisional Headquarters, INEC office and Ebube-Agu Security Outfit on the date mentioned above.
Elom further stated that his group was responsible for the attack on the Army checkpoint at Amasiri in Afikpo North Local Government Area on 26th March 2021 where two Army officers were killed and their rifles taken away.
He also claimed that his group was responsible for the attack on Central Police Station Abakaliki during the #ENDSARS protests, where a Police Inspector and one other were killed, and the inspector’s rifle carted away.
One of the AK 47 rifles recovered when crossed checked was found to be the same Police Rifle that was stolen by the hoodlums from the late Inspector at the Central Police Station Abakaliki during the said #ENDSARS protests.
Elom Daniel further narrated that his gang were also responsible for the attack at Onueke Police Station on 8th January 2021 which claimed the lives of three Policemen and the attack on Nigeria Police Force Animal Branch Personnel attached to the Agricultural Quarantine checkpoint, along Donkey Market Ezzangbo in Ohaukwu L.G.A of the State on 23rd March 2021 where two (2) Assault rifles were carted away by the hoodlums. The two rifles are among the recovered rifles.
In a follow-up investigation, Elom Daniel led the Operatives to another Kingpin hideout who on sighting the Police took to flight, and in an attempt to maim him, was grievously wounded, the suspect was rushed to the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA) where he gave up the ghost and his remains deposited at the same hospital mortuary for preservation.
Again, following the attack on Ugbodo Police Divisional Headquarters in Ebonyi Local Government Area of the State on the 22nd May 2021 which our officers gallantly repelled and two of the hoodlums including a dismissed soldier by name Israel Onyibe a native Mmbamili-Nkaliki in Ebonyi Local Government Area of the State were shot dead and one AK-47 rifle was recovered from him while two (2) Policemen paid the supreme price.
Police operatives from this Command on credible intelligence arrested four (4) male suspects in connection with the attack, namely;
–> Joseph Nwali
–> Ozigbo Jonah aka Ojukwu
–> Nwankwo Jacob
–> Nwali Chibueze, all of Amachi-Igbegu in Izzi Local Government Area of the State.
Jonah Ozibo aka Ojukwu admitted to the crime and led the Police operatives to their hideout at Amachi-Igbegu to apprehend their gang members, in the process, one Ebuka Urehu and other members, on sighting the Police engaged them in a gun duel and during the encounter, Ebuka Urehu met his water-lo while others escaped with bullet wounds.
One Ak-47 rifle with thirty (30) around of ammunition and other incriminating items were recovered.
In yet another development, a notorious hoodlum by the name Nwite Okechukwu aka (More Money) was arrested and led the Operatives to their hideout at Mile 50 Abakaliki wherein the following items recovered.
o One AK 47 rifle,
o One (1) Assault rifle (AR),
o One (1) locally made Pistol,
o One (1) machete,
o Two (2) Jack-knives and
o Assorted charms.
The AK 47 Rifle breech number was crossed checked and found to be the same Police Rifle that was carted away by the hoodlums from Mobile Police Personnel killed at Ugbodo Divisional Headquarters, on 22nd May 2021.
In a follow-up investigation, Ozibo Jonah aka Ojukwu further led the Operatives to another hideout at Umuezeoka Community in Ezza North Government Local Area and Amike-aba in Ebonyi Local Government Area, both of the state where the gang members opened fire on sighting the Police.
During the exchange of firing one Obinna Uwah was fatally wounded while others escaped with bullet injuries. However, Rev Pastor Louis Okoh a native of Oziza in Afikpo North LGA, Jude Mbam, Amos Ofoke and Jude Onyibe were arrested and undergoing investigation.
The following items now Exhibits were recovered; Two (2) AK 47 rifle,
o Two (2) Assault Rifle (AR),
o Three (3) Pistols, one English brawny and two locally made.
o Eastern Security Network (ESN) Oath of allegiance form.
o Ten red/white Customize native caps with names and phone numbers attached to each.
o Two remote control Improvise Explosive Device (IED).
o Two dangerous wooden sticks with blood stain and
o Two Jack-knives.
One of the suspects Mbam Jude aka “Stanza” admitted and confessed that his gang members were responsible for the attack and burning of INEC offices in Ebonyi and Ezza North Local Government Areas of the State on 18th May 2021.
The suspect among others at large also claimed responsibility for burning Brass Filling Station located at Ogoja Road Abakaliki on 19th May 2021, maintaining that it was out of annoyance as their plan to attack INEC Headquarters Abakaliki was not successful due to heavy security presence.
The suspect concluded that the attack/burning of Fulani Herdsmen settlements located at Agharaozara-Iboko in Izzi LGA and Ozibo Echiaba Community in Ebonyi LGA were also executed by them.
In a related development, one Sampson Eze was arrested at Umuezeokaoha in Ezza North Local Government Area of the State and confessed that he and others now at large were responsible for the attack and burning of the Federal High Court Abakaliki on 27th April 2021.
One (1) English pistol loaded with eight (8) .9mm ammunition was recovered from him.
Similarly, you will recall that on 14th April 2021 the Policemen attached to Safer Highway Patrol stationed along Ogoja/Abakaliki Expressway were attacked and some fatally wounded.
Ozibo Jonah aka Ojukwu and others confessed that they were responsible for the attack on the said date which was further corroborated by the recovery of AK-47 rifle belonging to Police personnel from the suspects.
The gang led the Police Operatives to arrest a native doctor One Nwifuru Chukwuebuka aka “Double gang switch” as he claims to be a pastor and a Native (who specializes in both spiritual healings and juju invocations) who fortifies them against bullet penetration by giving them marks on their both shoulders. The said native doctor was arrested, his shrine destroyed, and the following items were recovered from him.
o One live tortoise
o Two IPOB flags
o Large quantity of juju charms.
o Some Bibles (different version).
The native doctor had since been charged to court and remanded in prison custody for aiding and abetting as a ‘criminee-participee’.
In the same vein, you will recall that on 18th May 2021, at about 1700hrs following intelligence report on the movement of arms and ammunition and the report of armed robbers terrorizing Isu in Onicha LGA, in swift Police action One Eluu Ekpehu Emmanuel was arrested.
He made useful statement to the Police and led the Police Operatives to the house of their gang leader popularly known as “Blood” other names unknown who is alleged to have been terrorizing the area and the mastermind of the various attacks on Police Divisional Headquarters in the area, namely; Onicha, Abaomege and Ohaozara.
“Blood” and his cohorts on sighting the Police, opened fire on the Operatives who gallantly fought back, in the process “Blood” was apprehended with gunshot injuries while others escaped into the nearby bush with bullet wounds. Blood’s house/premises were immediately searched, and the following items were recovered.
o One (1) Double Barrel English Gun, with eleven live cartridges,
o One (1) locally made Single barrel Gun,
o One (1) Riot Police Smoke Gunner stolen from Ohaozara Police Divisional Headquarters on 6th May 2021, when it was attacked by the hoodlums.
o Three (3) Police Bartons
o One (1) Hand Grenade
o One (1) Canister of Teargas
o Two (2) Police Belts
Two (2) Police Radio Communication Handsets with Chargers all robbed from Onicha Divisional Headquarters when it was attacked and burnt down on 4th Feb. 2021, and
o One (1) Box filled with assorted charms.
The gang are also responsible for the attacks on some government facilities and the killing of security agents in the area.
CONSPIRACY/MURDER AND UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF FIREARM:
On 31st May 2021 while personnel of Ebube-Agu Security outfit were on township patrol at Nkaliki Road behind Ebonyi State House of Assembly complex, they intercepted one tricycle popularly known as Keke, with three occupants. They were accosted and in an attempt to escape, one of the suspects, Itumo Nathaniel ‘m’ age 24yrs pulled out a locally made pistol and shot one of the Ebube Agu personnel, Idike Agwu ‘m’ on the chest and escaped.
Idike Agwu was rushed to Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital for medical treatment but was confirmed dead by a medical doctor on duty and the body deposited in the same hospital mortuary for preservation and Autopsy.
The two (2) other occupants of the keke were arrested, namely;
o Ikperi Chidimma ‘m’ 22yrs and
o Nwali Amarachi ‘f’ 18yrs.
The suspects made useful statements to the Police which aided the arrest of the fleeing murder suspect, Nathaniel Itumo.
The suspect confessed to the crime and narrated how he shot and killed Idika Agwu with a berretta pistol (locally made) to avert arrest and that he acquired the said pistol in Lagos State for self-defence in the ongoing crisis between Ikwo and Izzi indigenes.
The said pistol with one live ammunition was recovered from him. The suspect had since been charged to court for unlawful possession of firearm and murder.
ARREST OF SUSPECTED ARMED ROBBER/RECOVERY OF SNATCHED VEHICLES:
In continuation of the aggressive manhunt to rid the State of criminal elements, on 11th June 2021 one Chijioke Oke, a suspected armed robber and car snatcher was arrested at Onueke in Ezza South Local Government Area of the State.
The following items were recovered from him; Ten (10) AK 47 live ammunitions, One Nissan Bus with Reg No FJJ.869ZV, One Toyota Camry (Spider) with Reg. No. KPE60AA, two (2) expanded cartridges and One Super Cub Motorcycle.
The suspect confessed that the Two (2) vehicles were robbed by two of his gang members, Ferdinand and one other in Imo and Anambra State respectively. The said gang members were alleged to have fled the scene on sighting Police on the day he was arrested. Chijioke Oke denied taking part in the Car snatching and armed robbery but confessed to being a member of Ayes Confraternity and had taken part in many cult clashes that have claimed many lives in the State.
I, therefore, call on the general public particularly those whose vehicles match the description of the stolen vehicles to come along with proof of ownership for possible claim of their vehicle(s).
Meanwhile, frantic effort is ongoing to apprehend the fleeing suspects.
At this juncture, I wish to commend the gallant efforts of the officers and men of the Command who took the fight to the hoodlums while putting their lives on the line with these mega achievements to restore peace and tranquillity in Ebonyi State, I also appreciate the collaborative support of other Sister Security Agencies, the Military, DSS, personnel of Ebube-Agu Security Outfit, local Vigilantes and other law-abiding Citizens in the State.
I must extend my profound gratitude to our amiable Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc+, NPM, fdc for his huge support to the command since his assumption of office.
I wish to thank immensely His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Engr. David Nweze Umahi for his gigantic support and robust assistance to the Command without which these achievements would have been a mirage and the good people of Ebonyi State for their support and undiluted trust in the ability of the Police to restore peace and sanity in the State.
On a final note, I wish to use this medium to call on persons or group of persons in possession of weapons either stolen from Security Agencies or illegally acquired, to return same to the nearest Police Station or any appropriate authority and would be granted amnesty.
I equally enjoin the residents of the state to remain vigilant, law-abiding and do not hesitate to call on the Police if any illegal act/suspicious movement or breach of peace is noticed in any part of the State “If you see something, say something”. The Command can be reached through Police Emergency numbers 07064515001 or 07034232135.
Thanks for the audience and God bless.
ALIYU GARBA psc+
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
EBONYI STATE COMMAND,