Seventy-two-year-old veteran journalist and a self-acclaimed human rights activist, Pa Ahmed Adoke, said he had yet to fully understand why he was in custody, when he was paraded alongside 45 others on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping and cattle rustling.
Adoke, who is related to a former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, was paraded with the others by the police in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital on Monday. But he continues to maintain his innocence as his family said he was on his own.
Even though the police did not allow journalists to interview the suspect, the septuagenarian kept shouting that he was not guilty of the allegations preferred against him by the police.
He kept shouting on top of his voice that his arrest was politically motivated. According to him, the police only invited him to come and clarify some petitions written against him. He added that it was surprising that he was being detained and paraded as a criminal.
“I am not guilty of the offences the police alleged that I committed. The police only came to search my house following a petition and found nothing. I am surprised that I am being paraded this way. I am innocent, I am innocent. I did not commit any crime,” he shouted.
Alhaji Bello Adoke, who is the father of the former Minister of Justice, confirmed to journalists later in a media briefing that the suspect was a member of the Adoke family.
He explained that the man in custody is a cousin of his son (former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke), but added that his arrest had nothing to do with the family.
He said that the suspect acted on his own and that whatever happened to him should not be linked to the family.
While parading the 45 suspects, the Force Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu, in company with top police officers from the state, said the police arrested Adoke aka Buruja, John Sule (40), Adoke Jimoh (25) and Suberu Amina aka Devil (53) and other suspects for suspected armed robbery and kidnapping.
He named the other suspects as Isiyaku Bello aka Mentor (37), Ekundayo Daniel aka Ekun (40), OjoRaji (22),Audu George aka Doctor (23), Sunday Omouyaaka aka Major (20) and Godwin Isah aka White Lion (32).
He claimed that the suspects had made useful statements and confessed to their involvement in several robberies and kidnapping, adding that investigation was still in progress.
Ojukwu said, “Intelligence reports and useful information from good citizens led to the arrest of the suspects known to have been fingered severally in armed robbery and kidnapping cases. Indeed all the suspects are on police wanted list.”
The FPRO recalled that following the upsurge in activities of armed bandits, kidnappers, miscreants and hoodlums along the Auchi-Okenne-Lokoja, Ajaokuta-Lokoja and Kabba-Obojana highways, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, directed the Special Anti-Crime Task, led by Mr. Chris Ezike of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad to relocate to Kogi State and quickly address the situation.
He added that consequently, the team arrived Lokoja on May 27, 2015 and was supported by a strong force of 300 personnel of the Police Mobile Force drawn from across Nigeria and reinforced by others from the Kogi State Police Command.
According to him, the IGP charged the Task Force to assess the crime situation in the state and quickly design a template to contain the surge and to identify all criminal syndicates, their leaders, foot soldiers and sponsors and arrest them with operational precision.
He said the team was mandated to carry out sporadic raids of the suspects’ bases and recover arms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, charms and all other items/properties reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Ojukwu said, “I am pleased to inform you that barely three weeks into this operation, which has been prosecuted with vigour, dedication, utmost professionalism and passion, tremendous results have been recorded.
“The team arrested armed robbery and kidnapping suspects and recovered one AK47 rifle with serial number BA 360834 with 13 rounds of live ammunition,” he said.
According to him, on June 13, at about 2am, operatives of the team who were acting on a tip-off, arrested Isa Omouyoaka aka Cat or Sunday Moscow (36), of Ihimo in the Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
He added that a search on the suspect’s home led to the recovery of the AK47 rifle and 13 rounds of live ammunition, one single barrel gun with two rounds of live ammunition and three automated teller machines cards of different banks.
The FPRO said further investigation revealed that the recovered AK47 was snatched from Corporal Apogu Dzokwo, who was shot dead on May 18 2015 at about 11.30am along the Ayere/Ajowa Road in IjimuLocal Government Area of Kogi State.
According to him, the deceased policeman was on an escort duty with an expatriate engineer, Mr. Karunadosa Dorawaka of Boroni Prono Construction Company Limited, who was equally kidnapped by the alleged armed hoodlums.
Ojukwu said, “The suspect has admitted to the crime and named his criminal gang including Salami Abdulazeez aka Target. He has equally admitted to several other armed robberies and kidnappings along the Okene-Lokoja Highway and Kabba Road. Part of the ransom he received has also been traced to one of his wives’ bank accounts.
“The suspect further revealed that they got their arms and ammunition from Idris Shaibu and Eneji Obeito aka Diligent, who are both from Ihima in Okehi Local Government Area of the state.”
Meanwhile, Ojukwu said at about 1.20pm on June 10, 2015, along the Eika Road by Itakpe Junction, a special team on ‘stop and search’ duty also intercepted a Toyota Corolla Saloon car, 2013 model, driven by one Mr. Sule Eneji aka ‘Landlord’ (42) with registration number Sokoto AL 304 SKK.
According to him on close examination, the vehicle had another registration number, Lagos LSR 569 CM engraved on the bumper, grill and head lamps.
Investigation revealed that the vehicle was snatched at gunpoint two days earlier at about 7.25pm in Minna, Niger State from Mr. Linus Sunday, a staff of FrieslandCampina WAPCO Nigeria Plc.
The FPRO stated that further investigation led to the arrest of other members of the gang.
Ojukwu said, “The gang members are Sadiq Usman (27), Jimoh Idris (45), Johnson Abraham (55, blacksmith and gun manufacturer); Yekini Ibrahim (41) and Karim Saliu (66).
“Similarly, the following vehicles and other exhibits have been recovered from robbers: Honda Accord with registration number RV 982 KJA; Mazda 323 saloon car with registration number YAB 209 DY; Kia Sportage Jeep with registration number AE 498 DTM; ML 450 Mercedez Benz SUV with registration number KJA 866 AA; Honda Accord with registration number CX 487 ABJ and Honda Accord with registration number KAB 316 AA.
“Other exhibits include one cut to size locally made double barrel gun; one wooden butt gun; one muzzle pipe gun; four cartons of three-phase prepaid metre with box; nine hexing mamas metres; one MOJEC metre box (empty) and gun manufacturing equipment/accessories.”
The FPRO said the police team also arrested five suspects for armed robbery and cattle rustling.
He also said the police team rearrested a kidnapping suspect who allegedly escaped from KotonKarfe Prisons and was involved in armed robberies.
“He was said to have been operating with his co-escapees responsible for the upsurge in criminal activities in Kogi State in recent times.”
The FPRO said that at about 9.30am, on June 15, 2015,operatives on stop and search duties along Okpella-Okene Highway stopped a commuter bus with registration number AA 802 KKH for routine search.
He stated that the search revealed a sack in which some exhibits were discovered neatly concealed in the vehicle.
According to him, the exhibits are two locally made double barrel guns dismantled into parts; two locally made single barrel guns dismantled in parts; four cutlasses; three sharp knives, 50 rounds of live cartridges, five flashlights and other items.
He said that the IGP was excited that crime rate in the state was on the decline, adding that the task force would improve on intelligence analysis to rescue a kidnapped judge of the Kogi State High Court, who was still in captivity.