The armed robbery campaign of some turncoat policemen ended when they were arrested during a joint operation of the Anambra State Commissioner of Police Monitoring Unit and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the command.
The two policemen, 38-year-old Corporal I.L.O. Peter, serving at Oguta Division of the Imo State Police Command and Constable Nicholas Ogbianu, 37, who was dismissed from the Delta State Police Command, were arrested in Onitsha, Anambra State, for robbery and for impersonation respectively.
Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hosea Karma told Sunday Sun that the Commander of Anambra SARS, Supol James Nwafor and his men had been keeping close tabs on the two alleged police culprits, following reports by individuals that they had been robbed or their vehicles snatched on the highway by policemen who were wrongly assumed by innocent members of the public, to be on official duty at checkpoints. Deeply disturbed by the increasing number of such reports, a special dragnet was laid out by the command to apprehend the rotten eggs, whose evil activities had given the police an odorous smell before the public.
It was not long before the perpetrators fell into the net of the police. As Sunday Sun learnt from Karma, the alleged bad egg Corporal Peter and accomplices, Ekene Uche Ohanusi and Benjamin Obinwanne, were caught during one of their operations.
Recounting some of the past escapades of the gang, Karma said: “The gang has been involved in several cases of armed robbery operations and snatching of cars along Onitsha-Owerri Expressway and robbed several commercial vehicles both during the day and at night.
Also, we also got intelligence information that some policemen had been robbing people along the highway. So we set up a monitoring team that worked with the Commander of SARS and his men. That was how we arrested the suspect, Corporal Peter and his gang members during their operation.”
He explained that Ogbianu was dismissed from the Delta State Police Command, following his transfer to Adamawa State Police Command in 2013. Karma said that Ogbianu launched into a new ‘career’ of impersonating genuine police officers and engaging in illegal duties at Onitsha and collecting money from motorists and commercial motorcyclists.
It was in the course of this that officers of the CP’s Monitoring Unit arrested him at No. 1 Anglican Lane, Nkpor-Agu, Upper Iweka, Onitsha, while fully dressed in police uniform.
The suspect, Corporal Peter, who spoke with Sunday Sun said: “I was recruited into the Nigeria Police Force at Oji-Rivers Police College, Enugu State, in 1999 and posted to Imo State Police Command, where I was serving at the Oguta Division of the state command.”
Continuing, he told Sunday Sun: “I formed a gang of armed robbers. We robbed passengers travelling from Anambra State to Imo State. Sometimes, we will mount road block as if we are carrying out stop-and-search, and then rob the people or snatch big cars from the owners.
After snatching the car, a member of the gang will sell the car and give me my own share, which may be from N100,000 to N200,000.
Peter further disclosed that he is a native of Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State, adding he received regular returns from members of his gang even when he was on course at the police college.
His words: “I went on course for promotion to rank of corporal at Oji River Police College, Enugu State. My gang members still continued with the armed robbery operations and always sent money to me during the course.
I went into armed robbery five years ago. Sometimes, I give out my arm and ammunition to the gang to use for armed robbery operations. I never imagined that one day I would be caught.
“On June 5, 2015, a member of the gang and myself snatched a Lexus SUV with registration number BBC 105JT, along Ozubulu road, belonging to one Mrs. Jennifer Adaeze Ohizu and we wanted to sell the car in Aba.
We also snatched another Toyota SUV at Okija, Anambra State and collected some ransom from the victims. We made money when we sold the SUV.”
When Sunday Sun visited the Imo State Police Command to verify the information about Peter, our correspondent learnt from a senior police source that policeman turned robbery suspect was working in the Store Department at the headquarters of the command, Owerri, before it was discovered that items were missing.
Through a careful investigation, it was discovered that Peter had allegedly stolen the items.
He was reprimanded and on compassionate grounds transferred to Oguta Police Division in the hope that he would turn a new leaf. The source said the command was shocked to learn that Peter had allegedly turned to armed robbery.
Following his arrest by the Anambra State Police Command, the source told Sunday Sun that the Imo State Police Command summarily dismissed the robbery suspect in line with police regulations.
The Commander of Anambra SARS, Supol James Nwafor disclosed to Sunday Sun that his men were able to recover the Lexus SUV snatched from Ohizu and operational weapons of the gang. He also said that other members who escaped would be tracked down.
Meanwhile, two members of the gang, Ekene Uche Ohanusi and Benjamin Obinwanne, are cooling their heels in custody and helping the police with their investigations.