•Gang leader, ‘Mba Boy’ declared wanted, announced N1m bounty for information
No fewer that four members of a notorious gang of cultists, kidnappers and armed robbers who have been terrorising residents of Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State were on Thursday night killed in a shoot-out with security agents in a popular hotel, in Owerri, Imo State.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Felix Viwamie, told journalists, at the headquarters of the 6th Division of the Nigerian Army, Bori Camp, in Port Harcourt, were there were paraded that the operation was carried out by a joint team of security agencies.
He said one of the killed suspect was Mba Joe whose gang was responsible for the killing of Reverend Lawrence Aleru and Peter Okoro of Ebubu community who were killed after they were kidnapped and collected ransoms from their families without releasing them.
The four cultists, kidnappers and armed robbers killed during the joint operation are: Joe Mba (aka SK or Mba boy), Teetito Frank (aka Obele), Teetito Godwin (aka Coachy Boy) and Gift Paul.
Viwamie said the hoodlums were killed during an exchange of gunfire with a joint team of security operatives in the hotel were they had lodged along Okigwe Road, Owerri North Local Government Area, Imo State.
Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Philip Oparaji has commended the security agencies for tracing the criminals to their hideout in Owerri and overpowering them during the shoot-out.
He disclosed that the four men were members of a cult group and gang of armed robbers that have been terrorising innocent people in Eleme local government area. He also thanked Governor Nyesom Wike for providing logistic support for security agencies in the state.
Oparaji stated: “When I came on board, I said I will do my best to restore the dignity of the people of Eleme as well as ensure that security was of lives and property was guaranteed.”
“I want to thank the security agencies for their cooperation and partnership which yielded positive impact. These criminals have been killed. I can assure the people of Eleme that security is gradually returning to Eleme.”
He warned: “We are reaching out to them to embrace peace: they are our sons and brothers. But anyone who wants to spring up and go into crime will face the same fate as the four robbers that have been killed by security agents.”
It will be recalled that the Rivers State Police Command had in March declared Mba Joe wanted for series of criminal activities committed in Eleme and adjoining communities in the state.
The Police had before his death placed a bounty of one million Naira on the gang leader as an incentive to encourage members of the public who may be able to give useful information that will lead to his arrest.