Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Department of State Services (DSS) has announced the arrest of several kidnap, armed banditry and gunrunning syndicates responsible for the booming illicit arms supply business, which has sustained the crises in Taraba, Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa states.
In a statement signed by the agency’s spokesperson, Tony Opuiyo, the service noted that a notorious gunrunner, Abbey, aka Jonah Idi, had clients especially in Plateau, Ebonyi, Cross River, Enugu and Bayelsa states, among others.
It added that investigations indicated that he sourced arms from the Republic of Cameroon and parts of the North-East of Nigeria, adding that it also arrested Udoukwu and Nnonyelu that have been on its wanted list for their involvement in a series of kidnap incidents in the South East zone.
“In furtherance of tactical operations to stem activities of criminal elements across states of the federation, the DSS wishes to inform the general public that it has, within the last 10 days in the month of March 2018, apprehended key members of kidnapping, gunrunning and armed banditry syndicates operating across the states of Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Benue.
“On March 13, 2018, about 1220 hours, at Wukari town in Wukari LGA, Taraba State, service tactical team apprehended a notorious gunrunner, Jonah, aka Jonah Idi, alongside his driver, Saviour. Abbey has been on the wanted list of the service for the last 10 years over arms and ammunition trade.
“He has been servicing criminal groups in Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Benue/Taraba axis, including the notorious criminal syndicate led by Terwase Akwaza, aka Ghana, in Benue State.
“Recent intelligence indicated that Abbey moved arms and ammunition from Konduga in Borno State into Taraba State through his driver, Saviour. It may be noted that subject has entrenched his criminal activities in different parts of the country and, as earlier mentioned, has clients are especially in Plateau, Ebonyi, Cross River, Enugu and Bayelsa states, among others. Indications are that he sources arms from the Republic of Cameroon and parts of the North-East of Nigeria.”
He said similar operations led to the arrest of sundry criminals.
“Service intervention efforts are paying off in the South-East. For instance, on March 16, 2018, about 0630 hours, at Ifite Village, Awka, Anambra State, operatives of the service arrested two suspected kidnappers, namely Udoukwu and Nnonyelu. Both suspects have been on the wanted list of the service for their involvement in a series of kidnap incidents in the state.
“In particular, Udoukwu was one of the kidnappers involved in the abduction of one Margret Orji, mother of an Onitsha-based businessman, Michael Orji, in January 2017. The kidnappers collected a ransom of N2 million to release the victim. Both suspects are under service custody, for further investigation.
“This service appreciates the general public for its support and cooperation in providing useful information on criminal elements in their domain. The service also wishes to reiterate its stance that, no matter how long, every perpetrator of violence and criminality against the Nigerian state and its law-abiding citizens shall be made to face the full course of justice.”