By Vincent Osuji
The police in Imo State are poised to rid the state of criminals, ahead of this year’s Christmas festivities.
Indications to this effect appeared last week when the state’s police commissioner, Mr. Chris Ezike, paraded 15 suspects and displayed recovered weapons in one of the biggest hauls recorded by the police in the state in recent times.
Most outstanding was the command’s efforts in uncovering the suspected kidnappers and killers of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo, within four days of the commission of the crime.
Addressing newsmen, police Commissioner Ezike declared: “As Christmas is approaching, we shall increase the tempo of our game.”
He called for the support of the public in being law-abiding and blowing whistles regularly.
It also went ahead to announce N1million cash gift and a certificate to 28 police officers who carried out the feats, as reward for their hard work, commitment, passion and hunger for success as well as “efforts to stop criminal impunity in Imo State”.
Commendations have been pouring in for the command over their success, although popular opinion was that the police should be more proactive than reactive.
Ezike told newsmen that Fr. Onunkwo was abducted to unknown destination on September 1, only to be found dead the following day.
He said that the command, including the Inspector General, Ibrahim K. Idris, were saddened by the development.
According to him, in the course of investigations, an ex-police corporal was found in possession of the late priest’s infinix telephone set.
The police also recovered the priest’s wrist watch from another suspect arrested in Owerri.
A total of six suspects are at present in police net after five days of investigation.
Fr. Onunkwo’s mouth, according to investigation, was cello taped while he was dumped into a booth of a car by the hoodlums.
Other successes included the arrest of five suspects in the kidnapping of popular singer, Prince Chinedu Nwadike, who was also robbed of his Honda CRV Jeep and a ransom of N4 million collected before his release.
Four suspects were arrested in connection with the kidnap of John Bosco Okoro and Mathias Njoku in which N6 million ransom was paid, according to the police commissioner.
Other achievements, according to the command, are the arrest of a 16-year-old from Ehime Mbano and recovery of assorted arms and ammunition, army and police bullet proof vests, among others, from him.