Alarm has been raised by the residents of Delta State over the repeated way gangsters seize weapons from police officers in the state and slay them.
In an open letter to the Inspector General of Police from president and secretary, Chief Albert Omokiniovo and Mr Odeme Akpinorku of Apprehensive residents of Ughelli metropolis, noted that since August, the community was under siege , as an average of two policemen have been killed at various police checkpoints in the town with the hoodlums taking away the weapons of the slain police officers. They expressed anxiety that Commissioner Mustafa claimed to have made series of arrests in connection with the attacks, but yet to recover the weapons.
“Just last Thursday, a team of policemen attached to the Ughelli Area Command, were ambushed with one policeman shot dead, while others sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds. “Two policemen were also killed within three days at separate locations in the month of September when some unidentified hoodlums ambushed them at their checkpoints and took away their rifles. “With these weapons still in the hands of these hoodlums, we wonder where our fate lies during the Yuletide and the forthcoming general elections. It is on this premise that we are appealing to you to use your good office towards ensuring that peace and sanity is restored in Ughelli and environs,” the panic-stricken residents pleaded.
Findings by NDV indicate that three days after a team of policemen were ambushed at the Ogor axis of East/West road in Ughelli North Local Government Area, killing a police sergeant, another team was ambushed at nearby Otor-Owhe community in Isoko South council area of the state. Two unidentified policemen were reported to have sustained life threatening gunshot wounds, while the hoodlums also took away two AK 47 rifles belonging to the policemen. About 15 persons are currently in custody of the Criminal Investigation Department, CID, Asaba over attacks on policemen, but they have not led police to recover stolen weapons yet.
On reaching to Mustafa, he disagreed that attacks on police officers were escalating.
He said “Attacks on policemen in Delta are reducing, almost four or five days now, there is no incident. There are internal and external measures we have taken, we are interfacing with the state government, and the citizens must be on the side of the police. If they attack police officers and take away weapons, then, the citizen should know that he is not safe and should be on the same page with us.
He further said that; “In getting that support, we have to educate the people, most of them are sitting on the fence, and we need to get them on our side. I told the governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, he said the police should go ahead; he is not against any reward he is going to give anybody for the successful recovery of weapons stolen from police officers and arrest of suspects. “Most of our officers that have been killed have no body armor, nothing, government has not done enough. In the past, state government bought some body armors for the police, so I asked the governor; he said he was going to buy,”