Criminals in and around Imo State have not been allowed an inch to perpetrate their evil in recent times, courtesy of the ever-ready eagle eye of the state Police Command, writes Amby Uneze
The dexterity of the Imo State Police Command led by the indefatigable and agile Commissioner of Police, CP Taiwo Lakanu has not left any stone unturned in seeing that they fight all criminal elements in the state to standstill. It is on good record that right from the posting of CP Lakanu to the state last year, fighting criminals remained the major policing thrust.
The command has lived up to expectations, in line with the commitment of the CP who at inception promised to rout men of the under-world, kidnappers and other hoodlums who had hitherto taken the state as an abode of hideout. From findings, the successes so far recorded by the command in about one year had earned her the accolade of Imo people.
Not only that the Imo State Police Command rounded up over 60 suspects that were involved in various criminal activities ranging from kidnapping, murder, armed robbery and fraud, the command had not relented in making sure that every part of the state is safe.
At a recent briefing in Owerri during a parade of suspects, Lakanu said that the effort was in line with the determination of his command to consolidate on the continued ridding of the state of all criminal activities and their perpetrators.
Among those arrested were the kidnappers of the Channel television correspondent in Imo as well as the kidnappers of another journalist that works with Excel Magazine along Emekuku-Umuahia road. They include Chimezie Clement (31), Lucky Duru (24), Nwaneri Uzochukwu (28), Nnamdi Ndukwu (35), Favour Chukwuemeka (28), Chinenye Elekwuya (31), John Ikorobu, and Njemanze Obuneke (29).
The Police also paraded three suspects caught in the vandalisation of MTN mast at Oleme Amaifeke, in Orlu local government and the pick-up van and 22 battery chargers belonging to MTN were recovered from them. They are Odey Augustine (22) and Nweke Stephen (25).
Lakanu who decried the activities of some, who call themselves pastors, paraded one Pastor Delight Arinze Okorie of Watered Ground Ministry, Atta in Nnenasa in Njaba Local Government Area of the state. This pastor was said to have attempted to murder one of his worshippers in the guise of praying for her where he attempted to kill the lady and drove away with the lady’s Lexus jeep SUV.
Other suspects were two brothers and their friend, who kidnapped and subsequently killed their friend, one Ugonna Martins Ukaegbu, a student of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri. They are Udodi Eke (23), Chukwudi Eke (24) and Chidiebere Umezurike (20).
Also an attempt to kidnap Bishop Ezeugo Ekewuba, General Overseer of Overcomers Christian Mission Inc. Along Avu road was aborted as the Police succeeded in recovering of one AK 47 riffle with three magazines loaded with 58 rounds of ammunition.
The CP warned hospitals and other health facilities to be in the watch out for those who ran away with bullet wounds to report such cases to the police. He also assured Imolites of the preparedness of the Police command to wrestle with the criminals no matter where they may hide.
In a similar effort, the command has nabbed a five-man gang of armed robbers who invaded a victim’s compound at Umukabia Nkwerre and carted away properties and cash. Items also recovered from the gangsters included a Nissan Xterra Jeep with Reg. No KSF 829, assorted electronic gadgets, a generator set and handsets.
Parading the suspects among 30 others, the state Commissioner of Police, Lakanu told newsmen at the command headquarters, Owerri, that a team was quickly dispatched to the scene where the kingpin, one Chinoso Okoroafor from Ihiala, Anambra State, James Eze, native of Oguta, Onyeka Uchendu from Ubomiri, Mbaitoli LGA and Tina Damian wife of one of the suspects were arrested.
He said that another coordinated effort of operatives of the command yielded fruit when the team arrested one Charles Anayo Obi, native of Amadaba Ibiasoegbe in Oru West LGA and member of a notorious three-man gang of kidnappers believed to be involved in series of kidnap/armed robbery incidents in the state.
According to him, the suspect has made useful statement to the police disclosing the identity of other members of the gang still at large. Also, the police boss said a member of a gang of four robbery suspects who robbed one Isaac Ugochukwu Mbika of his Sienna car was arrested. He said that the arrested suspect, Godwill Amaefule (36) from Port Harcourt, Rivers State “is now assisting the police to track down other fleeing members of the gang.
He also disclosed that a gangster who specialises in robbing and raping victims at Akwakuma was smashed through a well coordinated effort of the police. He said that one of the nabbed suspects, Chukwudi Nwoke (24) from Isu in Nwangele LGA had made useful statements that would assist to trace other members still at large.
Lakanu also said that the police arrested a suspected Army private, Arinze Onyeyeri (25) who was nabbed along Ukwuorji Umuaka road leading to Onitsha expressway with one army T-shirt, one army cap, one army uniform and Army handkerchief and belt.
At the back of these milestones, one therefore, wonders the import of the U.S. government’s inclusion of Imo State as one of the 20 states in the federation that is a security risk to her citizens. Media report last week carried a screaming headline “U.S. declares Borno, Adamawa, Rivers, Imo, 16 other states unsafe.” This declaration had however been refuted by the police, describing it as false the inclusion of Imo State as one of the states with security challenges.
Although, in a release signed by the command’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Enwerem had stated that the inclusion of Imo State in U.S. latest travel advisory to her citizens as unsafe was not true of the present security situation in the state, he stated that though there were some security challenges in the past which were not as bad as portrayed by the report.
He observed that since the assumption of duty of the present Commissioner of Police, Lakanu some 11 months ago, he had diligently and vigorously curtailed the wave of crime and criminality in the state with the adoption of various strategies and with his wealth of experience in crime fighting.
According to him, “As a result of the sterling achievements recorded by the State Police Command, the immediate past Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon E. Arase during his visit few weeks before his retirement, appreciated and commended the Police Command for their successful achievements in crime fighting.
“Also, the Imo State House of Assembly passed a vote of confidence on the Commissioner of Police and the entire Imo Police Command for their determination and concerted efforts in dealing with the crime situation in the state,” he said.
The command noted with optimism the declaration of the American Consular-General in Nigeria, John F. Bray when he visited the state on February 24, 2016 and during his courtesy visit to the Commissioner of Police, he specifically commended the Police Command for their great achievements in ensuring peace and stability in the state.
According to the command, it is therefore not an exaggeration to say that Imo State remains the hub of academic, hospitality, entertainment and tourists destination of the South Eastern Nigeria. It is a well known fact that there is no clime without crime even in U.S. where explosions and killings occur on regular basis.
The command said that the state remains one of the safest states in Nigeria where economic activities and social lives are thriving without problems and advised the people of the state and indeed the general public to disregard the publication which does not reflect the true state of security affairs in the state.
As a result of the feat the command has achieved, Imo citizens comprising traditional rulers, the clergy, business men and women had recently commended the Inspector General of Police and the State Commissioner of Police, Lakanu for the new approach in addressing security challenges in the country and the state in particular.
Speaking at the official inauguration of the Eminent Peoples Forum in Owerri, penultimate week by the CP, the citizens vowed to support any move initiated by the command to fight crime in the society
Making his contributions at the event, the Chairman of Council of Traditional Rulers in Imo, Eze Samuel Ohiri, said the forum would be a great tool to fight crime, even as he pledged total support of traditional institution in helping police in her effort to rid the society of all forms of criminality.
“This forum is a welcome development because it will help in fighting and addressing security challenges in the country. Security is everybody’s business, but the members of this forum will distinguish themselves in crime control,” he said.
Ohiri also lauded CP Lakanu for his approach in combating criminalities and maintaining relative peace in Imo, saying “since the present Commissioner of Police took over the state police command, there have been relative peace in Imo and we will continue to support him.”
Speaking in the same vein, the State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop. Stanford Nwogu, said the clergy has a lot of role to play to ensure a peaceful society.
Nwogu believed that the initiative will go a long way in addressing security challenges in the country. “This forum cut across stakeholders in the society and we believe strongly that with the forum, security challenges will be brought to barest minimum,” he said.
On his part, Lakanu said the essence of the IGP’s initiative was for the eminent persons in the society to collaborate with police in the fight against crime. He charged members of the forum to be proactive especially in reorienting and sensitising the public on the need to shun crime.
“We want every member of this forum to contribute and carry out serious campaign against criminalities,” he said.
The Chairman of Police Community Relations Committee, Mr. Chima Chukwuyere, said the forum would straighten community policing in the country as he promised that the PCRC members have partnered well with the police in Imo but “we will show more commitment to the forum to ensure crime free society.”
The National Leader of Youth Assembly of Nigeria, Mr. Chukwubuike Godstime, said government should ensure that more jobs are created for Nigerian youths. He said the youths are majorly involved in different kinds of crimes due to unemployment problem.
“Government should ensure that youths are engaged in one job or the other to make them think less in participate in criminalities,” he said.
The forum’s inauguration was attended by traditional rulers, the clergy men, civil society groups, youth’s organisations and market traders.