The police in Abia State have caught 10 members of a gang that is said to have stolen about N390 million from a bullion van on July 26.
Janet Agbede, who is in charge of police in the state, said that the suspects were part of a 14-person gang that robbed bullion vans in different parts of the country.
She said that they were caught in Abia, Delta, Lagos, Ondo, Rivers, and Imo States at different times and places.
One of the suspects is a former member of the State Security Service.
She showed the suspects to reporters at the Umuahia police headquarters on Monday and said that “a special intelligence, technology-led investigation squad” was responsible for the arrests.
She said that the squad was set up after the attack in July at Ntigha Junction on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway’s Isialangwa axis.
Ms. Agbede said, “I carefully studied how they did things and set up a special intelligence, technology-led investigation squad with a clear order to catch and recover weapons used by the deadly armed gang.”
“The team started working in a planned way, with speed and accuracy.”
She said that the work of the squad led to the suspects being caught at different times and places.
Ms. Agbede said that the suspects told the police that they did the crime.
She said that the suspects admitted that they had stolen bullion vans in Ajah, Lagos, Akure Road, Ondo State, Asaba, and Mbaise, both in Imo State.
The suspects admitted that the Abia attack was done after they had been able to watch the bullion van for about two months, the police commissioner said.
Adesoji Adeniyi, also known as “Soji,” and Albert Nwachukwu, also known as “White,” were among the suspects who were caught in Lagos State.
Others who were arrested in Rivers were Felix Ajalaja, Moshood Opeyemi, also known as “Abiola,” and Azubuike Amaefule, also known as “Zubby.”
The rest were Nnamdi Nwaosu, also known as “Prophet,” Monday Samuel, also known as “MD,” and Matthew Christmas, also known as “Aluwa.” They were arrested in Imo, Ondo, and Delta, respectively.
Chikwendu and Prosper Israel, two brothers from Abia who were arrested in Abia, were also taken in as suspects.
After he was fired from the State Security Service, Prosper told reporters that he went into crime with his brother.
One General Purpose Machine Gun with 53 rounds of live ammunition, 13 AK47 rifles with 1,749 rounds of live ammunition, and two homemade bombs were found on the suspects.
Others were a double-barrel gun that had been cut down to size, five live bullets, and 84 AK47 magazines.
The agents also took away a Mercedes-Benz truck that the gang allegedly used to hide their guns.
Out of the N390 million that was allegedly stolen from the bullion van, they also got N10.1 million back from the suspects.
The police chief said that they were still looking into the case to make sure that other gang members were caught.
NAN says that the bullion van in question was taking money from a bank in Aba to Umuahia when it ran into a robbery blockade.
Police confirmed that the robbers shot and killed the cashier at the bank. Three police officers were also hit by bullets.
They also said that one of the gang members had been killed by a police bullet during a shootout.
Ms. Agbede has also asked people who live in Abia to keep giving the police useful and timely information so they can take proactive steps to fight crime.