The Police Command in Enugu State has paraded thirty nine criminal suspects arrested between February and March this year.

The suspects, thirty-seven males and two females, were arrested for their involvement in offences ranging from conspiracy, armed robbery, child stealing and trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms to cultism.

Briefing journalists on the development, Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Aliyu, said that fifteen of the suspects, between forty and twenty-one years, were arrested for cultism at different locations in Enugu between 12th and 14th March.

According to the Police Commissioner, their arrest followed information received about bloody clashes between two rival cult groups, the Black Axe and Vikings Confraternity, which led to the gruesome murder of the alleged leader/executioner of Vikings Confraternity on the night of March 12, 2021 at Railway Quarters, Njamanze Ogui, Enugu.

“The above-mentioned suspects were arrested between 12th to 14th March, 2021, through a combined effort of Operatives attached to Anti-Cultism Squad, Crack Squad, Anti-Kidnapping Squad and Police Divisions in the Command.

“The suspects, who all confessed to being members of the above mentioned rival cult groups, were arrested in different black-spots in New Garriki, Holy-Ghost, Obiagu, Ugwuaji and old Artisan Ogui areas of the metropolis. The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigation is completed,” the Police Commissioner assured.

The police listed one long-ranged smoke-gunner (inscribed Emene Division), one round of live canister, one Berretta pistol magazine, one Bajaj Tricycle with registration number: ENU 060 VG (abandoned by one of the cultists on the run) as things allegedly recovered from them.

Also paraded was a twenty-one year old Chidera Ikoh, who was apprehended at a hotel in Enugu after a report of conspiracy, armed robbery and fraud made to the police against the suspect and others who fled during the police raid.

Among the items allegedly recovered from them in the hotel included a locally-made revolver Pistol, one expended 9mm ammunition, a HP Laptop, eleven different brands of mobile phones suspected dispossessed of their owners, three different banks’ ATM Cards, an international passport and one national Identity card.

However, when interviewed, the suspect, Chidera, claimed he merely visited his friends in the hotel, not knowing they were involved in crime.

The Police Command further paraded one Nasiru Ada, a security man from Nasarawa State, who allegedly kidnapped and murdered twelve year old child in Ugwuoba and dumped the corpse in a soak away, after four hundred thousand naira ransom had been paid to release the boy.

Nasiru Ada confessed to the crime but blamed it on financial difficulty in trying to feed his family.

Among other paraded suspects were Peace Ndukwe and Ebere Eze accused of Child theft.

Peace was said to have kidnapped her brother’s three year old child and allegedly kept the boy with one Ebere Eze said to be looking for a prospective buyer before they were arrested.

“Their arrest was due to a report made at the Division by one Edith Onyia (f), that on 08/03/2021 at about 1900hrs, she went out to fetch bathing water and came back to realize that her 3 years old son, Chinagorom Onyia, was missing.

“That on enquiry of his whereabouts, her older son told her that Peace Ndukwe came to where they were playing and took his brother away, under the guise of going to buy biscuits for him,” Mr. Aliyu remarked.

However, the suspects denied the allegation with Peace Ndukwe claiming to have taken the boy for treatment as she had some weeks ago discussed taking the boy for treatment.

Others paraded were alleged burglars and car snatchers as well as armed robbery suspects arrested at different locations in the state and some valuables, hard drugs and weapons recovered from them.

“We equally recovered several items, including firearms and ammunition, motor vehicles, tricycles, motorcycle, TV sets, mobile phones, a laptop and other incriminating items,” said the Police Commissioner.

Enugu State Police Commissioner, Mr. Aliyu commended sister security agencies, including vigilance groups as well as members of the public for their cooperation in the arrest of the suspects.

“Worthy of mention is the collaborative support received from Enugu State Commands of NDLEA and FRSC. Their roles in the arrest of some of the suspects show that, with maximum collaboration among security agencies in the State, more can be achieved towards the maintenance of public security in the State.

“I also want to thank the Neighbourhood Watch Group for their continued synergy that has helped us achieved some of these successes. The law-abiding citizens of the State are not also left out.

“I must also commend the gallantry efforts of the Command’s personnel involved in these breakthroughs and charge them to remain firm, resolute and resilient in the discharge of their duties” Mr. Aliyu stated.

In the meantime, the Police Commissioner, Mr. Aliyu Mohammed promised to prosecute all the suspects after a thorough investigation into their cases.