Okey Sampson, Umuahia
There was jubilation in Umuahia, the Abia State capital on Tuesday, as police operatives gunned down a notorious armed robbers that had terrorised the area for long.
A tactical squad set up by the Abia State Commissioner of Police, Ene Okon, had on that day, gunned down the suspected notorious robber who had been inflicting a regime of terror on residents of the state capital and its environs.
The suspect, Sampson Iheukwumere Nwokocha, otherwise known as Grave, hailed from Ossah Mgbaja in Umuahia North Local Government. He was, indeed, a terror to the people.
A police statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Geoffrey Ogbonna, said the suspect had earlier been declared wanted by the police and had been evading arrest.
Nwokocha who, according to the police statement, was released from prison only on November 6, allegedly led a gang of armed robbers that raided Helson Hotel, Umuahia and robbed staff as well guests.
A policeman on duty, it was gathered, was reportedly killed by the armed robbers
during the operation and his rifle taken away. Furthermore, he was accused of killing a young artisan, known as Obowu, who was recently buried.
On November 10, the suspect was said to have again led members of his gang to rob Forte Oil Service Station on Bank Road, Umuahia and had allegedly been involved in the snatching of vehicles in and around the state capital.
Before his death yesterday, the suspect, according to the release, had planned to attack the Umuahia Correctional Service Centre (Prisons) with members of his gang in order to set his mother, who is said to be at the centre, free.
The deceased robber was said to have boasted that he knew that he would be caught one day, but that before then, he would have accomplished his mission on earth. Since then, he had intensified his nefarious activities.
The robber, however, met his waterloo on Tuesday when he was accosted by the police during an operation and he opened fire on the team. In the ensuing gun duel, he was over powered by the superior firepower of the police and gunned down.
The news of Grave’s death elated spontaneous jubilation and reactions, as many who heard about his killing by the police rushed to the scene to be sure that the ‘terror’ was dead.
A commercial tricycle operator, Mark Egwu commended the police in the state for eliminating the armed robber who, alongside his gang members, had been terrorizing the capital, Umuahia for sometime.
“The police truly deserve commendation for achieving this feat, but they should not relent until other members of his gang are arrested,” Egwu said.
Kalu Ogu, a trader, also reacted to the deceased’s death. He said: “Grave has been terrorizing Umuahia for sometime and I can say that killing him is one of the best achievements of the police in recent times. People are very happy over his death and we urge the police not to relent until other members of his gang area arrested and brought to book.”
Elsewhere, people are happy. Many are commending the police in the state for seeing the end of the notorious suspect and urging them to continue.
When the reporter visited the Abia State Police Command headquarters along Bende Road, Umuahia, the remains of the robber were displayed on the field while overjoyed residents rushed into the police headquarters to catch a glimpse of the lifeless body.
Sampson, who was diminutive and about 27 years of age, was believed by many to be fortified with a special charm which made it impossible for policemen to track him down in the past. At the police headquarters, phone cameras excited residents clicked as they smiled and praised God for fighting their battle.
Reacting to the incident, the Commissioner of Police, Okon said his command would leave no stone unturned to ensure that other members of Grave’s gang were apprehended.
He said the police in the state had resolved that the coming Yuletide would be crime free in Abia and warned those with criminal inclinations to leave the state if they still want to enjoy their lives.