Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba Alkali on Monday announced that between April and May, 2021, a total of six hundred and eighty-six (686) high-profile suspects were arrested during various police operations across the country.
The arrested suspects comprise mainly of bandits, kidnappers, and armed robbers. They also include the principal suspects involved in the attack on his Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom on 20th March, 2021.
Speaking at the second conference with the strategic commanders of the Nigeria Police Force at the Peace Keeping Hall, Force Headquarters, Abuja, the police boss added that, a total of one hundred and fifty -two (152) kidnapped victims including the students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Kaduna have also been safely rescued by the Police during this period.
According to him, two hundred and thirty-one (231) assorted firearms and six thousand six hundred and sixteen (6,616) rounds of assorted ammunition were also recovered by the police during various operations nationwide over the past two months.
In relation to anti-banditry operations, Alkali said that in collaboration with the Military, DSS, and local communities his men have successfully arrested one hundred and seventy-three (173) suspected bandits, while sixty-eight (68) others died during encounters with the Police in the course of search and rescue operations within the past two months.
“In addition, sixty-seven (67) assorted firearms comprising AK-47 rifles, pump action guns, locally fabricated rifles and other weapons were recovered from bandits within the same period.”
Commenting on anti-separatist operations in the South East and parts of South South, the IGP disclosed that with the launch of the special operation code named ‘Operation Restore Peace’ (Operation RP) in Enugu (for the South East Operational Theatre) on Tuesday 18th May, 2021 and in Port Harcourt (for the South-South Operational Theatre on Wednesday 19th May, 2021), “we have enhanced our capacity to repel attacks by the secessionists as well as to undertake proactive operations aimed at disrupting their destabilizing armed campaigns and with a view to restoring constitutional order”
“In consequence, we have recorded the following successes against the separatists in recent times:”
- The killing of the overall Operational Commander of IPOB/ESN in the South East, popularly known as ‘Ikonson Commander’ and his deputy during separate joint operations with the Army and DSS operatives. Six IPOB/ESN suspects were also neutralized while two (2) others were arrested and several arms and ammunition with assorted charms were recovered during the operation.
- Repelling of IPOB attacks on Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo Dunukofia, Awka, Anambra State and recovery of weapons.
iii. Foiling of IPOB attack on Adani Police Division in Ozuani LGA of Enugu State.
- Foiling of IPOB/ESN attack at Orlu Area Command/Divisional Headquarters in the course of which nine (9) IPOB/ESN fighters were killed while one (1) was arrested alive. During the operation, five (5) assault weapons, assorted charms and all their five (5) operational vehicles were recovered.
- Foiling of IPOB/ESN attack on Ugbuodo Police Station, Ebonyi State on 22nd May, 2021 and killing of an IPOB/ESN fighter and recovery of firearms.
- Repelling of an IPOB/ESN attack on ‘B’ Division Police Headquarters, Awka in Anambra State on 23rd May, 2021 in the course of which one of the attackers was shot dead, one (1) AK47 rifle, nine (9) pump action rifles and the three operational vehicles of the attackers were recovered with several of them escaping with bullet wounds.
vii. Utilisation of intelligence leading to the arrest of two dismissed soldiers that were providing military training and tactics to IPOB/ESN fighters. They include Lance Corporals Godswill Igwe and Livinus Owalum Barnabas. They were recruited by IPOB/ESN and have been training the secessionists fighters in their Forest Training camps in Abia and Delta States prior to their arrest and destruction of their camps in a Police-led operation.
viii. Arrest of Christian Kalu, and IPOB/ESN commander who confessed to leading operations that involved the killing of eleven (11) Police, Airforce and Customs personnel in Port Harcourt.
- Arrest, based on intelligence, of one Prince Tobechi Ononiwu, a California (USA) based major sponsor of IPOB. He hails from Ehime Mbano LGA Imo State.
- Arrest of forty-four (44) IPOB/ESN suspects with established links to the recent attacks on Police personnel and facilities as well as other security operatives and facilities in the South-East and South-South parts of the country.
- Also recovered in various anti-seperatist operations are one (1) General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG); Ten (10) AK-47 rifles; Four (4) Pump Action Rifles; Nine (9) other sophisticated locally fabricated Rifles; Four (4) locally fabricated pistols; Nineteen (19) AK-4 7 Magazines; Five hundred and forty-nine (549) 7.62mm live ammunition; and Ten (10) Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),
Aside the foregoing, the police said on 29th April, 2021, on the strength of intelligence, the Police in Ebonyi State Command also undertook a major anti-seperatists operation in Onueke, Ezza North LGA of the State.
The operation targeted a shrine which was being used as a hideout and operational base of IPOB. At the end of the exercise two (2) of the IPOB/ESN fighters were neutralized, two (2) others were arrested, while several others escaped with bullet wounds.
The shrine/camp was also destroyed, while three (3) AK47 rifles, five (5) pump action guns, four (4) locally fabricated pistols, several charms and IPOB logos were recovered.
He stated further that on the same date, while acting on intelligence, the Police undercover operatives intercepted a bus conveying high-calibre weaponry and ammunition to Umuahia from Abakaliki. In the course of searching the vehicle, seven hundred and fifty-three (753) GPMG live ammunition; two (2) AK 47 rifles; five (5) pump action guns; and six (6) pistols were recovered. The recovered items were being distributed to fuel the secessionist campaign in the Zone.