The Abia State Police Command has paraded a dismissed personnel of the Department of State Services, DSS, Prosper Israel, and nine other suspected robbers.
The suspects were part of the 14-man robbery gang that ambushed a bullion van near the Ntigha junction of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway on July 26, 2022.
During the robbery, the cash officer of a new generation bank, Igwe O Igwe, was killed on the spot while the suspects carted away an unspecified amount of cash being conveyed by the bullion van.
Three police personnel escorting the bullion van sustained life-threatening wounds while one of the robbers was killed by the security men during a gun duel.
Parading the suspects at the command headquarters on Monday, September 19,2022, the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Janet Agbade, said their arrest was the reward of months of painstaking efforts and investigation.
“I carefully studied their modus operandi and set up a special intelligence technologically-led Investigative squad ( ITLIS) with a clear directive to arrest and recover weapons used by the deadly armed robbery gang”, the CP said.
“Consequently, the Investigation used systematically commenced operation, applying speed and accuracy, and on different locations and days, arrested the following callous armed robbery gang,”
The police boss gave the names of the suspects as Adesoji Adeniyi from Ondo State; Nnamdi Nwaosu a.k.a “Prophet”; Chinwendu Israel from Abia; and Prosper Israel ( ex – DSS personnel), also from Abia.
Others were Nwachukwu Albert a.k.a White ( first amourer) from Delta State but resident in Lagos; Felix Ajaja from Ondo State; Moshood Opeyemi, from Osun State; and Matthew Christmas also from Delta.
Among the suspects also were Azubuike Amaefula a.k.a Zubby from Abia; and Monday Samuel (second armourer) from Delta but resident in Ondo State.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects include one General Purpose Machine Gun ( GPMG); 13 AK 47 riffles; one cut-to-size double barrel gun with five live cartridges; 84 AK 47 magazines.
Others were two improvised explosives dynamites; a Mercedes Benz mini truck used in concealing firearms; and cash of N10, 184,000.
According to the CP, the suspects during interrogation confessed that they placed the bullion van on surveillance for two months.
“All the above mentioned suspects in their individual voluntary statements confessed belonging to a 14-man awful armed robbery gang with speciality in bullion van attacks and that for about two months before the attack, the Bullion van had been under their surveillance,” she said.
The CP who said that efforts were on to trail three other members of the gang still at large, pleaded with members of the public to always volunteer information about suspected criminals around them.
The police boss said that the suspects would be arraigned after further investigations.
She advised parents, guardians, husbands, wives and children to always know the sources of one another’s livelihood.
In an interview with journalists, the driver of the truck, Albert, said his role was to drive the truck where their weapons are concealed any time there was an operation to their target location.
He said five AK 47 and one GPMG were concealed in the truck at the time of his arrest.
The Aniocha North LGA-born suspect who said he dropped out from the University of Ado Ekiti pleaded for forgiveness.
The suspect who said he deals in jeans wears said he joined in the robbery operation to raise money to expand his business.
“I have never killed. My own job is to drive the vehicle to the scene of operation and hand over the guns”, he said.
Similarly, the ex-DSS officer, pleaded for forgiveness, saying it was the first time he would be involved in any crime.
He said he was initially serving at the Abia State Government House but was dismissed in 2007 following his late reporting to a new posting.
According to him, it was his brother that gave him part of the money he got from the operation.
“My role in the operation was that I was in my house when my brother brought money and his colleagues and they shared and gave me part of it. I asked him and he told me how they got the money. I want to plead for forgiveness because I failed to rebuke him. So, it is obvious I participated because I can’t say I did not. But it was not intentional and I want society to forgive us.”