The Abia State Police Command paraded a fired staff member from the Department of State Services, DSS, Prosper Israel and nine other suspected thieves.
The suspects were part of the 14-man robbery gang who ambushed a bullion van near the Ntigha junction of the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway on July 26, 2022.
During the robbery, the cashier of a new generation bank, Igwe O Igwe, was kill at the scene while the suspects took away an unspecified amount of cash carried by the bullion van.
Three police officers escorting the bullion van suffered life-threatening injuries while one of the robbers was killed by security guards in a gunfight.
Parading the suspects to Command Headquarters on Monday, September 19, 2022, State Police Commissioner, CP Janet Agbade, said their arrest was the reward of months of painstaking effort and investigation.
“I have carefully studied their modus operandi and established a Technology Intelligence Led Special Investigations Team (ITLIS) with a clear directive to arrest and recover the weapons used by the murderous armed robbery gang,” said CP.
“Therefore, the investigation systematically began the operation, applying speed and precision, and in different places and days, arrested the following ruthless armed robber gang,”
The police chief named the suspects as Adesoji Adeniyi from Ondo State; Nnamdi Nwaosu aka “Prophet”; Chinwendu Israel of Abia; and Prosper Israel (former DSS staff), also from Abia.
Others were Nwachukwu Albert aka White (first lover) from Delta State but residing in Lagos; Felix Ajaja of Ondo State; Moshood Opeyemi, from Osun State; and Matthew Christmas also from Delta.
Also among the suspects were Azubuike Amaefula alias Zubby from Abia; and Monday Samuel (second gunsmith) from Delta but residing in Ondo State.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects include a general purpose machine gun (GPMG); 13 AK 47 rifles; a cut-to-the-waist double-barreled pistol with five active rounds; 84 AK 47 magazines.
Others were two improvised explosive dynamites; a Mercedes Benz mini-truck used to conceal firearms; and in cash of N10, 184,000.
According to the PC, the suspects during interrogation confessed to placing the bullion truck under surveillance for two months.
“All of the above suspects in their individual self-declarations confessed to belonging to a gruesome 14-man armed robbery gang specializing in attacks on Bullion vans and that for approximately two months prior to the attack, the Bullion van had been under their watch,” she said. .
CP, which said efforts were underway to locate three other gang members still at large, pleaded with members of the public to always provide information on suspected criminals around them.
The police chief said the suspects would be arrested after further investigation.
She advised parents, guardians, husbands, wives and children to always know each other’s sources of sustenance.
In an interview with reporters, the truck driver, Albert, said his role was to drive the truck where their weapons are concealed whenever there was an operation to their target location.
He said five AK 47s and a GPMG were concealed in the truck at the time of his arrest.
The Aniocha North LGA-born suspect who said he dropped out of Ado Ekiti University has pleaded for a pardon.
The suspect who said he was selling jeans said he joined the theft operation to raise money to expand his business.
“I never killed. My job is to drive the vehicle to the scene of the operation and hand over the weapons,” he said.
Likewise, the former DSS officer pleaded for a pardon, saying it was the first time he would be involved in a crime.
He said he initially served in the Abia State Government House but was removed from his post in 2007 after being belatedly reported to a new position.
According to him, it was his brother who gave him some of the money he made from the operation.
“My role in the operation was that I was at home when my brother brought in money and his colleagues and they shared and gave me some of it. I asked him and he told me how they got the money. I want to beg for forgiveness because I failed to reprimand him. So obviously I participated because I can’t say I didn’t. But it was unintentional and I want society to forgive us.