The Police Command in Anambra said it has arrested 95 suspected cultists and three suspected members of an armed robbery syndicate in the state.
The command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, a superintendent of police, disclosed this in a statement in Awka on Sunday. He said that the suspects were nabbed between May 4 and Saturday.
Mr Mohammed said the arrests were the result of intensive raids on criminal hideouts in various communities carried out by the command’s Special Anti-Cult Unit (SPACS) to stem the tide of cultism in the state.
He said that 32 of the suspects were released after screening, while 28 were charged to court and 10 placed under police supervision for being under-age.
The spokesman added that 25 suspects were under investigation and that the suspected cultists were arrested at Okija, Ekwulobia, Nteje, Awkuzu, Nkpor-Uno, Ifite-Awka, Oko, Nanka, Enugwu-Ukwu, Nimo and Nise communities.
“On May 10, at about 4.30 p.m., police detectives attached to Isiuwulu Division arrested a three-man robbery syndicate – Friday Okpe, 24; Peter Ochai, 21 and Chukwuebuka Okafor, 23.
“The suspects had on April 19 conspired and snatched a bag belonging to one Mercy Anekwe, containing the sum of N15, 000 and a Canon Xpro valued at N75, 000.
“Also in the bag was a TECNO 66I telephone valued at N7, 800 and a power bank valued at N3, 500,” he added.
Mr Mohammed said that the robbery victim was inside a commercial tricycle along Limca Road, Nkpor, near Onitsha, when she was robbed.
He said that Mercy’s SIM card was later recovered from the suspects, adding that efforts were on to recover other stolen items and prosecute the suspects.
He further said that four persons were arrested for alleged conspiracy, kidnapping, extortion and obtaining under false pretence, the sum of N1.4 million from their victim.
“On May 6, Rita Madubuonu, 30, reported at Inland Town Division, Onitsha, that sometime in 2012, her brother, Chinedu Madubuonu, got missing and all efforts made to locate him proved abortive.
“However, she was later contacted via phone call in 2013 by one Caroline, surname unknown, that her brother was at Owerri Prison and that his release will be secured only if she made payment into two bank accounts.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the complainant was deceived by the syndicate and used as a conduit to extort money from her under false pretence of securing the release of her missing brother, whose whereabouts is still unknown,” he said.
Mr Mohammed listed the names of the four suspects in connection with the alleged crime as Obierika Tochukwu, 40; Godstime Okhae, 26; Chinedu Madufor, 20 and Celestine Chukwuemeka, 35.
He said that the suspects defrauded their victim of N1.4 million, which she deposited into their bank account in various instalments between 2013 and 2016.
“The case has been transferred to State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for discreet investigation,” he added.