By Emmanuel UgwuÂ in Umuahia
The Abia State police command has been outsmarted by several suspects who escaped from police custody and made away with two AK 47 rifles, leaving the police perplexed and frantically searching for the fleeing suspects.
The development was disclosed yesterday by the state police commissioner, Mr. Leye Oyebade while briefing journalists at the state command headquarters. He said that the suspects escaped from the anti-kidnapping section of the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) located right inside the state command headquarters in Umuahia.
Though he did not give the number of suspects that escaped from detention, it was gathered that over a dozen suspects made their way out of police custody at about 1.30am last Saturday.
The CP said that the rifles which the suspects took away were kept outside the armoury for quick response to emergencies, adding that the fleeing suspects apparently took away the guns to facilitate their escape.
According to him, the suspects escaped from detention due to the negligence/abandonment of duty post by the officers who were scheduled for duty on that fateful night.
However he said that three of the escapees had been re-arrested.Â He gave the names of the recaptured suspects as Emeka Ukaegbu, Kingsley Anyim, and Chijioke Chukwu, adding that one of the missing rifles had been recovered.
â€œAll the officers involved in the act of negligence/absence from duty have all been taken through the force approved disciplinary action process and dismissed from the force, and will be prosecuted soon,â€ Oyebade said. Â
The dismissed officers include four males and two females. It was learnt one of the female officers fainted when she sighted a television camera during the press briefing.
The Abia police boss said that he was pained â€œbecause these same officers have been responsible for up to 95 per cent of our success story in this command, but we cannot compromise any act that will bring damage to the image of the force.â€
One of the recaptured suspects Ukaegbu confessed to journalists that the police officer on duty helped in their escape, saying, â€œthe officer on duty that night gave me the key to lock the VIP cell, so I collected the spare key and gave it to one girl (in detention over child trafficking) outside the cell, to open the door for us.â€
He further narrated that â€œwhen the girl opened the door, one Kenneth now at large went and collected the guns, he gave me one but I dropped it because I could not carryâ€.