Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Operation Puff Adder launched by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, in Bayelsa State is smoking out criminal elements especially in Yenagoa, who have held the people by the jugular.
Its operatives arrested four suspects in connection with robbery cases in Yenagoa. Those arrested included Ebimobowei, Gbabofa, Ikpi and Dakolo.
Commissioner of Police, Uche Anozia, told Daily Sun: “They were coming for an armed robbery operation with one black Toyota Highlander SUV with REG NO BRA 94BU and one ash colour Toyota Corolla car with REG NO YEN 55HP, when they were arrested. Upon a thorough search of the vehicles, police recovered two Ak47 rifles, three face masks, six extra plate numbers and four AK47 magazines loaded with 102 7.62mm ammunition with 54 others as spares.”
He disclosed that Dakolo confessed that the gang was responsible for the attack on two policemen at Udeme Hotel, Yenagoa and the robbery attack Mr. Abel Pukukoro Ozi at Kpansia, Yenagoa, which led to his death.
Ikpi in an interview confessed to the crimes and demonstrated how the gang hid the guns and ammunition in car doors. Dakolo said he is not a member of the gang: “I am from Gbarantoru community and I live near Udeme Hotel, Opolo. I was told that Gbabofa who is my relative was arrested and I went there to find out why he was arrested. It was there I was being interrogated over the incident. I was not sent to bail them out but to find out why they were arrested.”
The Puff Adder team in the course of its operations working in conjunction policemen attached to Azikoro Police Station arrested Godwin from Otuokpoti in Ogbia Local Government Area and Dama from Delta State. They were fingered in the robbery of Precious at her shop in Azikoro.
Anozia said: “The suspects confessed to the commission of the crime and other crimes they have committed. In the course of the investigation, operatives of Puff Ader raided an uncompleted building along Azikoro-Agbura Road to arrest the fleeing gang members.
“On sighting the policemen at their hideout, the suspects engaged the police in a shoot-out, which led to the arrest of Orubovie from Isoko in Delta State and one Victor from Peremabiri in Southern Ijaw local Government Area.”
Following intelligence information, the Puff Adder team mounted a stop-and-search operation made a breakthrough in solving string of robbery cases within Yenagoa.
The CP: “Operation Puff Adder team on patrol along Isaac Boro Expressway, Etegwe accosted a man driving a black coloured Toyota Avalon car with REG No YEN 949 SY in company of one lady. The operatives suspected the car and flagged down the vehicle for a check but the driver zoomed off.
“The team chased after him to Brass Road Etegwe where the suspect abandoned the car and the lady. The car was recovered and the occupant one Tari was arrested. Upon a thorough search of the vehicle an English made pistol magazine loaded with five rounds of .9mm live Ammunition and some documents bearing Isere were recovered.”
Investigations revealed that Isere is a made of a gang whose members are already in police net. He escaped arrest and was working round the clock to raise money to prosecute the case of the remaining gang members.
The Puff Adder team also smashed a kidnap syndicate that preyed on innocent victims and Commissioner Quarter’s Road using security guards as informants.
Anozia: “Operatives of Puff Adder arrested one Eli a security guard. Upon interrogation Eli confessed to the crime and led police to a hideout in Opolo, Yenagoa where the victims were held hostage. Other gang members fled and the police are on their trail.”
One of the revelations of the operations of Puff Adder is the case of a youth corps member, Vincent. He is part of a robbery gang that specialised in robbing bank customers using the ATM. His role was to watch out for customers that withdrew large sums and pass the information to the other gang members that would trail their victims and rob them.
He was initially posted to the North but managed to redeploy to Cross River State. He came to Bayelsa to participate in robbery operations.
His words: “I am Vincent from Agudama-Ekpetiama. I am serving at Odupani Area Council, Cross River State. I graduated from the Department of Economics at the Niger Delta University. I am close to one of the suspects.
I met him sometimes ago and he knew of my predicament that I was struggling to survive. He convinced me to follow him for robbery operations to solve my challenges. I usually hanged around ATM and picked on any customer withdrawing huge sum of money and waited for further directive. The highest share I have ever received was N100,000. Now I am full of regrets for joining crime.”