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Vicious robbers in police net

Posted by From NWABUEZE OKONKWO, Onitsha on 2005/12/28 | Views: 759 |

Vicious robbers in police net


The fate of a six-man robbery syndicate described by the police as one of the most vicious gangsters ever had, is now hanging in the balance.

The fate of a six-man robbery syndicate described by the police as one of the most vicious gangsters ever had, is now hanging in the balance.

This followed their arrests and detention a forthnight ago by a combined team of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Onitsha and a crack team from Police Area Commander, Onitsha.

In a confessional statement while being paraded before the press at the weekend, two of the robbery gangsters, Uche Ekwunife from Nando in Anambra East Council Area of Anambra State and Tochukwu Ekejiuba from Umuelemai, Isiala Mbano in Imo State both final year law students of Enugu State University of Science Technology (ESUT) said they joined the gang because their parents could not pay their school fees at that stage.

They however contended that they did not participate in the June 9, 2005 robbery operation that left one Tony Okpala dead, but rather they participated in the November 2004 robbery episode that recorded no casualty.

Uche Ekwunife and Tochukwu Ekejiuba are among the six robbery gang, including Nonso Nweke from Nteje, Oyi Council Area of Anambra State; Livinus Onuora (aka Okanumee) from Uturu in Abia State, Emeka Okeke from Nkpor in Anambra and Sunday Nnamani from Nkanu in Enugu State that snatched a trailer carrying about 1,400 empty cartons of assorted guinness products valued over N600,000.

Another robbery partner, Nonso Nweke, from Nteje, Oyi Council Area of Anambra State, a welder at Enugu, in his own confessional statement, said he worked with Livinus Onuoha from Uturu in Abia State some time ago before forming the gang with one other member of their gangs he simply identified as Akidi who is now at large.

Nweke further confessed that it was he, Uche Ekwunife and Emeka Okeke that killed the trailer driver, Tony Okpala from Umunze in Orumba South Council Area of Anambra State and threw him into a bush at Enugwu-Agidi along the Enugu/Onitsha expressway, during the June 9, robbery episode.
He said, however, that they did not kill the driver with the gun they were having, but with rope.
Emeka Okeke from Nkpor, said he personally drove the trailer from Atani road in Onitsha where they snatched the trailer with the load to Enugu-Agidi where they slowed down and threw the slain driver into the bush and to Enugu where they sold the empty cartons with bottles to Friday Nnamani at N600,000 and then to Ninth mile corner where they abandoned the vehicle, shared their loot and dispersed.

Livinus Onuoha from Uturu said it was Nonso Nweke that was always in possession of their gun, adding however that it was the fleeing Akidi that had the gun at the time of their arrest.
Sunday Nnamani, the buyer of the stolen cartons said he did not know that they stole it from someone but that he thought they were genuine staffers of Guinness Nigeria Plc, as they initially lied to him.
The suspects, according to reliable police source had committed the crime on June 9 and dispersed, adding that it was when the relations to the deceased driver were calling his phone number few days after he was dead that the robbers answered the calls and lied to his relations that if they produce N1m as ransom at a hidden place within a space of time they could free him.

Yet all efforts by late Okpala's relations to strike the deal with the robbers proved abortive as the robbers were not consistent with their words to the extent that even when the relations were anxiously waiting for the robbers at the designated hidden place with #1 million, they were no where to be found until the police contacted MTN services that supplied them with the location of the robbers’ last caller who turned out to be Sunday Nnamani, the buyer of the stolen cartons.

The police later trailed Nnamani to his shed in Ogbete market, Enugu where they arrested and detained him at Okpoko police station where investigations began in earnest.
Although the preliminary investigations conducted by the police at that primary stage could not break through at once, but when NNamani’s relations wrote a petition to AIG Zone 9, Umuahia, accusing Okpoko police of detaining innocent person, the AIG directed the Onitsha Area Commander, Mr. Dennis Anyagafu (an Assistant Commissioner of police), to investigate the matter and Anyagafu was said to have swung into action by organizing SARS to move into the case at once.

SARS interrogated Nnamani who not only mentioned Nonso and others as sellers of the cartons to him but also gave his address and whereabout. On getting to his address, he could not be found and one of his relations was arrested and detained to produce Nonso, a situation which later worked out as Nonso was produced and he implicated the others and they were all tracked down in their various hideouts in Enugu by the SARS.

Shortly after the arrests, the robbers took the police to the bush where the skeleton and skull of decomposed Okpala’s body were collected in a Ghana-must-go bag.
Confirming the incident, the Area Commander, Anyagafu, described them as one of the most vicious gangsters ever had, adding it was horrifying to note that the hoodlums had used rope to strangulate their victim, jast as they had done in their previous robbery operations.

Anyagafu advised people to always retain at least #200 credit in their GSM handsets for emergency sake, adding that on such an emergency situation, people should make distress calls to any Area Commander or nearest CP or DPO, for rescue operation. He also warned against campus cultism because all the cultists usually end up as robbers.

It would be recalled similar incident had taken place along the same Atani Road, few months age when a gang waylaid a coca-kola driver and allegedly dispossessed him of huge sums of money belonging to the company which he had just gone round and collected from their customers as sales proceed.

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