To say that these are not the best of times for people either living in or passing through Imo State, will safely translate to telling the truth. The criminals have not ceased from injecting new and deadly tactics in the criminal lexicon of the state. It must also be stated in clear terms that while the diaries of security agencies operating in the state will bear out in the truism, it remains also true that not all crimes were reported to the security organizations.
The above facts do not in any way rubbish the efforts of the nation’s security personnel in combating crime and criminals operating in the state. The success stories of the 34 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Obinze, Owerri West local council area of the state, gives the citizens a ray of hope. As at the last count, the Brigade arrested 13 suspects for sundry crimes committed in the state. They include three suspected kidnappers, nine suspects for illegal oil bunkering and another for illegal possession and use of firearm.
Giving a graphic account of the Brigade’s success stories, the Army Public Relations Officer, APRO, 34 Artillery Brigade, Captain A. Y. Jingina, said that in January 2016 alone, operatives from the Brigade impounded two Sino trucks for illegal oil bunkering. “On January 21, 2016, our troops deployed as Quick Response Group, QRG, along Port Harcourt-Owerri road, arrested four suspects for illegal oil bunkering. The suspects are Mr. Anas Mohammed (driver), Mr. Abdulmajid Aliyu (conductor), Mr. Christian Nnochiri (loader) and Mr. Ejima Emeka, the owner of the product”, Jingina said.
According to the APRO, “the suspects were carrying unquantified volume of substances suspected to be diesel in Dangote Sino truck with identification number ICT-15D-038” and registration number Kano, WDL 491 XA. Six days after the first arrest, another Dangote Sino truck with registration number, KMC 136 ZY and identification number, ICT-16B-041, was nabbed also, for illegal oil bunkering, at about 5.25am in Eziorsu, Oguta local government area of the state.
“The truck was loaded with 22,000 litres of substances suspected to be crude oil. The truck was arrested on a tip-off to our soldiers and men of the Civil Defence. The suspects were said to have locked and abandoned the truck. An electrician and excavator were hired before the truck could be pulled out from the sand and driven to the barracks”, the APRO said.
Beyond the Dangote trucks, the Brigade equally impounded other vehicles fully laden with petroleum products. These includes a Man Diesel truck with registration number, ABB 239 XA, and another articulated Man Diesel truck with registration number, ACA 744 XA. The APRO disclosed that the former truck was carrying 10,800 litres of suspected diesel, loaded into a well constructed metal and concealed with piles of 2×4 inches wood, while three suspects, Mr. Charles Anayo Nwachukwu, Mr. Chika Uche and Mr. Chuks Samuel Agwa, were apprehended inside the truck.
“Items recovered from the suspects includes three mobile phones and the sum of N63,000, which was used in feeding the suspects, while the preliminary investigation lasted”, Captain Jingina said. Continuing, the APRO said that the occupants of the articulated Man Diesel truck abandoned the vehicle and took to their heels on sighting soldiers, another set of suspected illegal oil bunkerers, Mr. Ernest Ofoegbu and Mr. Collins Okoh were nabbed and their Volks Wagen 18-seater bus, with registration number, ABB 381 XA, was impounded.
While Jingina said the army nabbed Mr. Arinze Osimiri for alleged illegal possession and use of firearm and handed over to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution, the APRO also said that they confronted kidnappers and released their victims. Giving a graphic account of one of the kidnap cases, Jingina said that Emeka Nwanu, (20) an indigene of Egbema and Ugo Ijo (31) from Mbidi, Omoku local government area of Rivers State, lured Engr. Yusuf Oladayo Kayode and Architect Owoeye Ayodeji, who are based in Lagos and Abuja respectively, to Etekwuru Plantation in Ohaji/Egbema local council area of Imo State.
“The two victims were invited to Imo State, to be awarded a contract for road construction, allegedly funded by Chevron. The two victims were kept in the bush for five days, within which period the kidnappers used their ATM Cards and withdrew a ransom worth N1.4 million paid by the victims’ families”, the APRO recounted. (Vanguard)