The Imo State Police Command has rescued 22 kidnap victims and also paraded 72 suspects alleged to have committed crimes at different locations across the state in the last six weeks. State Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, who paraded the alleged criminals before newsmen in Owerri, yesterday said 11 stolen vehicles were recovered within the time under review.
He said that the clampdown on criminal elements in the state was in line with the Operation Puff Adder launched by the Inspector General of Police, which he said was still in force. Among those paraded were members of a notorious kidnap syndicate that specialized in the abduction of under-aged children at their homes, oftentimes in the dead of the night.
The suspects, Chukwuemeka Onyebuchi (43) and Aina Nwachukwu, 45, were arrested after a tipoff after they stole two minors, Oluwa Chukwu Opanwa, 4, and Promise Opanwa, 2), both females of the same parents at Umuobum in Ideato Local Government Area of the state. He said the police were on the trail of other fleeing members of the gang, while efforts were on to recover the stolen children.
Also arrested was a member of a gang of serial rapists, Stanley Ebere, who participated in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in the company of the fleeing members of the gang. In addition, a 30-year-old man, Chima Akagha, was also paraded for defiling a five-year-old female, Ezeonyi Gift at Nekede, in Owerri West local government Area.
The police boss said that the suspect was arrested in a compound where he lived with the father of the little girl. He described the suspect as a habitual rapist who had been involved in raping and defiling children in the locality The CP further said that another five-man child-stealing syndicate comprising 74-year-old Raymond Uzoma, 26-year-old Nkeiru Amadi and Oguzie Jennifer (26) all from Mbaise, whisked away four-year-old Akachi Uzoma from his father’s house and took her to an unknown destination.
According to him, the command’s anti-robbery unit immediately went after the, arrested the suspects and recovered the baby from Raymond Amadi.