Rivers Police smash trailer hijackers led by rogue Army, NSCDC operatives


Operatives of the Rivers State Police Command have arrested a gang of armed robbers and trailer hijackers headed by soldiers of the Nigerian Army and their Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) colleagues.
The gang was arrested following investigations into an alleged burglary that occurred at warehouses at Elimgbu belonging to one Mr. Emmanuel Nwangwu and a woman, Mrs. Ndifreke Ekanem.
It was gathered that a distress call was made to the police by ONELGA Security Peace and Advisory Committee (OSPAC) around 11pm of that day relating to the incident and how five of the suspects were rescued from a lynching mob.
Badly bruised from the mob attack, the suspects who were held down by the vigilante, it was gathered, were eventually moved to the police hospital by the patrol team that were deployed after the distress call.
However, a matter that started off as a burglary incident, in the course of police investigation, unravelled a network of vicious armed robbers serving in the country's security agencies, who abandoned their duty posts across different states to operate criminal empires in Rivers State.
Two of the suspected burglars apprehended that night were Corporal Isaac West (08NA/61/2653) who was deployed to Delta State and an NSCDC operative, Jabila Kammangar alias ‘Kaka’, posted to Kabba in Kogi State.
Both operatives who met during their tour of duty in the anti crude oil theft and illegal bunkering units of their respective services, confessed to detectives how they usually abandoned their duty posts to perpetuate their criminal enterprise owing to its lucrativeness in Rivers State.
West, detectives discovered, left his 3 Battalion Base at Warri with a sick pass but never returned even over a one month after the pass expired.
Further questioning, it was gathered, revealed that West, a father of four and native of Rivers State, visited Port Harcourt from his unit at the behest of Kammangar who had told him about the operation.
Sources also said that West confessed he had participated in several criminal operations with Kammangar and revealed names of his colleagues who were also members of the gang.
Further investigations revealed they were part of a wider ring of criminals specialising in armed robbery, hijacking, and goods diversion. Corporal West disclosed to the police how he and other Army personnel - Lance Corporal Abdul Musa (13NA/70/10545), Lance Corporal Mgbe Jeoffrey (16NA/75/6896), and Corporal Innocent Okwoli (12NA/68/6552)- were leaders of the gang said to have hijacked many trailers.
The gang, findings revealed, was responsible for the February 17 hijack of a trailer laden with N25 million worth of fertilizer belonging to one Alhaji Sadiq Adams; a trailer load of Plaster of Paris (POP) and a 40-foot container of imported clothing from China were also hijacked and diverted in February.
"They had a network of informants who gave information about the itinerary of goods-bearing trailers. They would then dress in full military gear, lay in wait for the trailers, and accost them with a white Hilux van as they approached their location.
"They would then proceed to intimidate the drivers, beat them up and hand their keys to designated drivers who would then divert the trailers to waiting receivers," said a source who pleaded anonymity.
Also arrested were eight civilian collaborators, Olisa Emeka, George Obilor, Sampson Wilson, Alfred Abeke, Barry John, Auwalu Aliyu, Uchenna Nwali and Alhaji Sofinu Haruna.
Further investigations by the police revealed that the key coordinator of the group’s activities was Corporal Okwoli, a native of Otakpo in Benue State and a soldier posted to Intels at Onne.
He confessed to have started his own gang after he led a successful operation in a gang he was introduced to by one Abbas and two others.
Already, the police have recovered the hijacked POP cement and are in the process of making a recovery from the receiver of the trailer load of fertilizer. Also recovered is a white Toyota Hilux used in their operations, The Nation gathered.
Also, three of the soldiers have been dismissed by the Army after they were handed over to the service by the police to undergo internal discipline.
Contacted for reaction, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, CP Olatunji Disu, said the command.would continue to partner sister agencies to curb crime and criminality in the state.
He commended the police team that smashed the syndicate, noting that the command remained resolute in ridding the state of hijackers and diverters of people's goods and valuables.


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