The Abia State Police Command has arrested 43 suspects for various criminal offences including kidnapping, armed robbery, murder and defilement, within 40 days.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi, disclosed this on Monday while briefing journalists in Umuahia on the efforts of the command to rid the state of violent crimes.
Ogbizi said that the arrest was a result of efforts by the command to ensure a peaceful and crime-free society.
“Some of the suspects are notorious. They have been arrested before in connection with crimes and later released but here they are today for similar crimes,” he said.
He also attributed the arrest to the improved synergy between the police and the state vigilance group.
The commissioner urged the public, especially motorists, to be vigilant, saying that criminals had devised new tactics of stealing cars.
According to him, the criminals were trailing people with exotic vehicles to churches, big ceremonies and popular shopping malls in Umuahia and its environs.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the suspects included alleged members of a cult group called Aro Confraternity, a syndicate that specialised in car theft and other crimes.
One of them also was a 29-year-old fish seller, Emmanuel Nwadike, who narrated how he defiled an eight-year-old primary three pupil in Owerri-Aba on July 20.
Nwadike, a father of two, said that he committed the crime around 9 a.m, saying that he was moved by the devil to commit the act.
Another 37-year-old Enyinnaya Okebugwu, who was arrested for allegedly killing 56-year-old Chairman of Umuoko-Umudala Ntigha in Isialangwa North Local Government Area, also confessed to the crime in an interview with newsmen.
Okebugwu said that he clubbed the man to death on a lonely bush path in the community to avenge the disconnection of his electricity line.
He said that the deceased, who was the chairman of the community’s electricity task force, disconnected his house for allegedly being in arrears of nine months, totaling N800.
The commissioner of police said that the 43 suspects “will be arraigned immediately”.
He said that during investigation, the suspects gave useful information that helped the police to arrest their fleeing accomplices.
“We could not immediately arraign them. We kept them in custody because we needed to get useful information from them to be able to arrest their accomplices,” Ogbizi said.