A RENEWED onslaught against criminals in Plateau State seems to be yielding fruit: 17 suspects have been arrested in the last four weeks, police said.
The police offensive was a response to residents’ outcry on what they said was the increasing rate of robbery and other violent crimes in the state. Many residents in Jos, the state capital, and elsewhere have been robbed, their cars snatched at gunpoint, some killed or maimed. Operators of point of sale or POS machines have also been targeted. Personnel of Operation Puff Adder, the security exercise against such attacks, have been rounding up suspects in the state since last month.
Parading the suspects and their weapons at police headquarters in Jos yesterday, the Commissioner of Police Isaac Akimoyede said, “A five-man gang specializing in snatching cars and robbing POS operators in Jos and its environs were rounded up.
“Search conducted at the residence of the suspects led to the recovery of two foreign-made pistols, one locally-made revolver pistol, 11 9mm live ammunition and one Peugeot 406.
“During interrogation, the suspects confessed they robbed POS operators in Kufang, Dadinkowa and Zaramaganda in Jos South Local Government of the state. They also confessed to killing some of their victims during robbery operations.”
The command also in their routine stop and search duties in the capital city rounded up some other criminal gangs who allegedly use tricycles to attack and rob innocent citizens on the streets.
The CP said, “In one of the stop and search by our men in Apollo Crescent Jos, some occupants of a tricycle fled and abandoned the tricycle. The police chased and arrested three of the seven suspects in the tricycle.”
In another anti-robbery operation in Jos, three suspects were arrested in a tricycle. The suspects Ebuka Martins and Joseph Achigak, of Busa-Buji in Jos North Local Government Area, were arrested reportedly with a locally made pistol with one live cartridge.
The command also within the last four weeks arrested some notorious kidnap suspects said to have been terrorising residents of Shendam Local Government Area of the state. After reportedly kidnapping a victim and collecting N2m ransom, the suspect Ibrahim Kuru, of Lere village in Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi State, was arrested while seven other alleged members of his gangs are at large.
In Rikkos village of Jos North Local Government Area, two robbery suspects were apprehended during stop and search operations by men of the command. The suspects allegedly rob using tricycles.
CP Akimoyede said, “Some of the crimes committed by the suspects include: kidnapping, armed robbery, car theft, culpable homicide and criminal conspiracy. Also, different kinds of exhibits are recovered from the suspects, including arms and ammunition, as well as assorted charms,” he said
The commissioner commended the resilience of officers and men of the command in stemming crime in the state, saying the suspects would be charged to court after investigations were concluded.
He assured members of the public of the command’s readiness to ensure the security of lives and property in the state.
He called on residents of the state to support the police and other security agencies in fighting all forms of crime in the area.
He said, “I want to use this medium to inform members of the public that in line with the mandate of Operation Puff Adder, the state command and other security agencies have been able to sustain the security of the state convenient enough for the government to hold the Jos International Trade Fair annually.”