The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) has disclosed that it has arrested no fewer than sixteen suspects, including two pastors in connections with series of violent and unprovoked attacks on security operatives and facilities in Nigeria, particularly in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
It explained that the suspects were arrested through joint collaborative efforts by police operatives, the Nigerian Army, and the Nigerian Airforce across different states in the country.
The police maintained that the collaboration between sister agencies has been formed in line with commitment aimed at bringing to justice persons responsible for the emerging trend of attacks on security personnel and wanton destruction of security facilities and operational assets.
Confirming the arrest, the police headquarters listed items recovered from the suspects to include nine 9 AK47 rifles, five other sophisticated firearms, seventeen AK47 Magazines, 549 AK47 live ammunition, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), camouflage bulletproof vests, walkie talkies, and other incriminating items.
Through a statement released to journalists, the police listed the suspects to include Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, a 28-year-old native of Arochukwu LGA in Abia State; Raphael Idang, 31-year-old native of Odukpani LGA of Cross River state; Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka ‘Alewa’, a 60-years-old native of Orlu in Imo State; Michael Uba, 33yrs from Imo State; and twelve (12) others.
According to the statement, the suspects were arrested in various parts of the country following sustained, and intelligence-driven sting operations across several states in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
“Police investigations clearly established and linked the suspects to several incidents of attacks and murder of security personnel as well as stealing, unlawful possession of firearms, arson, and malicious damage to operational assets of military and law enforcement agents.
“Specifically, investigations revealed that the duo of Ugochukwu Samuel aka Biggy, and Raphael Idang were among the criminal elements that attacked policemen on duty at a checkpoint on 24th December 2020 along Orlu-Ihiala Road in Imo state where two police officers were killed and a Police Hilux patrol van set ablaze.
“In addition, both were part of a larger group that attacked a police reconnaissance team on 13th January 2021 killing one police officer. Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, who sustained a bullet wound during an attack by his gang on a military convoy in which some soldiers were killed and weapons carted away, was subsequently arrested while receiving treatment in a hospital. Both suspects confessed to being active members of IPOB and ESN.
“Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa, a pastor with the Holy Blessed Trinity Sabbath Church, Orlu, Imo State and Michael Uba, a prophet with the Association of Jewish Faith, who were also arrested, are two of the masterminds of the various attacks on security personnel, in addition to providing spiritual cover for the gang. Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa’s house was used by the gang members to plan their nefarious operations. He also donated his late brother’s farmland for use as a hideout and training camp for the gang,”