Rivers State police command, within the last 24 days, has arrested 127 people who are suspected to be armed robbers, kidnappers and cultists.
This was as the Police killed 16 suspects and recovered 26 vehicles, 27 motorcycles, 48 firearms and 564 ammunition, 20 magazines and three battle axes from the suspected criminals within the period.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, made this known in Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Tuesday, while briefing newsmen on the achievements recorded by the command in the last 24 days when he assumed office.
Among the suspects was a man, Kataan Goewam, who claimed he was a Lance Corporal in the Nigerian Army, but was arrested along with three others during a robbery operation in Port Harcourt.
Addressing newsmen on the achievement of the Police under his command, Ezike said, “On July 1, 2015, SARS operatives tracked down a five-man armed robbery syndicate and arrested three members of the gang.
“This group is adept at snatching vehicles from their owners, especially within the Mgbuoba/NTA axis of Port Harcourt.
“Ironically, the group is led by a soldier who deserted his unit on duty at Maiduguri, Borno State. He has been taken into custody along with two accomplices, Ifeanyi Eze and Golden Mannuel.”
The Rivers Police boss said items recovered from Goewam and his gang included one AK-47 rifle, six magazines, 150 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and one Honda Pilot jeep with registration number ABU 203 BC.
He also gave a breakdown of the arrested to include 45 armed robbery suspects, eight suspected kidnappers (from whom the 26 vehicles were recovered) and 74 suspected cultists who were said to belong to Dey-Gbam, Dey-Well, Iceland and Vikings groups.
Ezike said he, upon assumption of office in June, realised the enormity of the challenges facing the state command in terms of efficient service delivery.
“The crime wave was getting higher, driven by increase in kidnapping and armed robbery incidents. These were fuelled by cultism.
“Homicide cases and communal crises across the state were causing concern. Traffic gridlock added to this heap. Therefore, urgent strategic steps had to be taken,” he said.
He however said he was encouraged and supported by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to take immediate positive steps and tackle the challenges.
He also said he remained focused on giving the people of the state qualitative services by fighting violence with vigour, respecting the rights of the people, abhorring corrupt practices, promoting professionalism, among others.

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