A 60-years-old pastor, Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka ‘Alewa’, accused of providing cover and training ground for suspected killers of police personnel is among 16 persons arrested over alledged involvement in the killing of police officers in the country.
This was disclosed by Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer on Sunday.
Other suspects are Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, 28-year-old native of Arochukwu Local Government Area in Abia State; Raphael Idang, 31-year-old native of Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River state and Michael Uba, 33 years from Imo State.
Twelve others in the course of investigation, according to the Police Spokesperson were also implicated in multiple felonies committed across several states in the South-Eastern part of the Federation.
According to the Police Headquarters, the suspects were involved in series of violent and unprovoked attacks on security operatives and facilities in some states of the Federation, particularly in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
The persons were picked up with the collaborative effort of operatives of the Nigeria Police and their counterparts from the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Airforce.
The offensive 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 seems to be a breakthrough.
Mba said, “The suspects were arrested in various parts of the country following sustained, and intelligence-driven sting operations.
“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.”
The duo, Ugochukwu Samuel aka Biggy and Raphael Idang were stated to be 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, the Police Spokesperson stated.
Noting further, the police said 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,” disclosed the Police Spokesperson.
“He also donated his late brother’s farmland for use as a hideout and training camp for the gang, CP Frank Mba said.
Items recovered from the suspects includes a total of nine AK47 rifles, five other sophisticated firearms, 17 AK47 Magazines, 549 AK47 live ammunitions, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, camouflage bullet proof vests, Walkie Talkies and other incriminating items were recovered from the suspects.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu said the Force is closing up on scores of suspects already implicated in the attacks either directly or indirectly for financing, aiding and abetting the criminals.
The highest police authority reiterated that the Force will not tolerate any further attack on its personnel or any citizen by any individual or group under any guise whatsoever.
He assures that law enforcement agents have gathered sufficient intelligence on the attackers.
He stressed that no murderer will go unpunished.