How Anambra Billionaire was Arrested by Police over Alleged Possession of Unlicensed Firearm

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Pius Nweke

Rebecca Ejifoma

When the news of the arrest of Anambra-born billionaire, philantropist and CEO of Best Aluminum, Chief Pius Nweke, flooded the social media space last week, emotions ran riot.

According to the information in the public space, Nweke was allegedly arrested and flown to Abuja by some policemen because of the gun he had in his possession.

Immediately news of his abduction filtered out, there were frantic searches and enquiries over the real identities of those that arrested him and their whereabouts.

Both the youth and different groups in Anambra State and beyond embarked on a search by combing all the nooks and crannies.

It was gathered that different town unions, the clergy, students, different religious organisation and even vigilante groups that had benefited from Nweke’s philantropic gestures for years trooped out enmass looking for him.

Initial fears were that he was hounded over the land tussle between his community, Abba and a neighbouring community, Ukpo.

Their fears were further heightened by the fact that few days before he was arrested, the perimeter fence of Best Aluminum belonging to Nweke and his brother, Godwin Nweke, were destroyed by armed hoodlums allegedly hired some people in the neighbouring community, who came with three truck loads of policemen who gave them cover to destroy the properties on the grounds that they were implementing a non-existent court order.

However, few hours after his arrest, the picture became clearer. Nweke, popularly called Ikemba Njikoka, was said to have been arrested by operatives of Inspector General of Police’s Special Tactical Squad (STS) in Onitsha over allegations that he was in possession of an unlicensed gun and flown to Abuja.

The Anambra Commissioner of Police, CP John Abang, who confirmed the arrest, said Nweke was intercepted in a Lexus SUV with a covered plate number by policemen on routine patrol at Awada, Onitsha.

He claimed they searched the car and the occupant and found a Barretta pistol with 10 rounds of ammunition in it and stated that the suspect was taken into custody and later flown to Force headquarters, Abuja.

Although Nweke said the pistol found on him was officially approved many years ago by the Presidency and IG and insisted on verification and confirmation, he was later flown to Abuja where he was subjected to gruelling hours of interrogation in spite of the fact that his claims were verified and found to be true. He was later released unconditionally.

Speaking on his ordeal, he said he was being hounded over the protracted land tussle. “For everything under the sun, God has a reason for allowing it happen. My travail in the hands of the police is very unfortunate. I want to thank the Archbishops, Bishops, Rev. Fathers, Pastors and other annointed men of God who kept touch with me while I was in detention, and for their prayers to God for my sake.

“I am most grateful to my good and steadfast brothers and sisters from Abba community who have been my backbone. My gratitude also goes to present and past governors in Nigeria, senators, members of House of Reps, ministers and top politicians who showed solidarity with me through calls and visitations.

“I also thank my friends in the police, both serving and retired, friends in the military who kept faith me and stood by me during this period. To those I have injured, I ask for forgiveness, to those who must have wronged me in one way or the other, I have forgiven you.”

Meanwhile, Abba community in Njikoka LGA, Anambra State has accused the police of a grand conspiracy to exterminate the entire community from the surface of the earth judging from its role in the Ukpo – Abba land tussle.

The indigenes of the community who embarked on a peaceful protest to the Anambra State House of Assembly, Awka to make their plight known to the lawmakers, alleged amongst others that the policemen are playing to the gallery as evidenced in its destruction of Best Aluminum property in the community.