Under Fire: No Hiding Place for Criminals and their Ilk in Eleme
Since 2013 it has been blood, sorrow, horror, pain, death, and helplessness in almost all the towns and villages of Eleme. Sleepless night yet nightmarish, and a crimson web of terror. At night, creaking sounds send shivers down the spines of both male and female, old and young, indigene and resident.
The spate of violence and armed banditry has escalated in recent times. Every day gory tales of violent crimes are told by victims who survived as criminals steal, extort, maim, rape, and kill freely.
But, as God Almighty would have it, the last few days have been quite eventful and challenging for the Eleme Police Division in their quest to halt criminal activities in the area.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Eleme CSP Nathaniel Okpara disclosed while giving details of his Division’s effort in stemming the tide of crime wave in Eleme that the police had recorded some success in law enforcement.
This assertion was evidently and explicitly confirmed when the exploit of a gang of notorious armed robbers came to an end in the night that breaks Wednesday 17th June, 2015 during robbery operation along Princess Road, Egbalor Ebubu Eleme.
In a swift reaction to a tip off, the DPO, CSP Okpara led a team of gallant police officers to the scene. The robbers numbering more than 15 and well-armed came with slug hammers, big axes, iron-cutters, and other materials with which they destroyed the heavy protectors and dismantled the fortified security doors to gain access into the building, after robbing a nearby house.
Unknown to the dear-devil robbers, the police had been alerted and they arrived almost immediately. On their part, the robbers were also vigilant as they greeted the police with several gunshots. In a gun duel that lasted more than an hour, three of the robbers died instantly, while many others sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries.
A prominent Chief in the community who spoke under anonymity revealed that three other corpse were found in the nearby bush the following day, while the fourth person died in Kaliko Forest, Eta Osaro, Egbalor Ebubu as result of bullet wounds.
Among the things recovered from the robbers include both local and foreign made riffles and ammunition, refrigerators (deep freezers and fridges), electronics, and other household apparatus, and several motorcycles, which the police kept wondering how the hoodlums intend to carry their loots after the operations.
The police as true friend of the people did not leave the victims of the robbery operation to their fate. Rather, CSP Nathaniel Okpara evacuated them to the Eleme Divisional Police Headquarters, Ogale to prevent a reprisal attack by the escapees/members of the robbery gang. A wise decision that saved the family, and further exposed how low criminals can condescend in trying to reap where they did not sow. It shocked those present at the Police Division, Ogale when a 5 year old boy in Nursery School identified his School bag among the heap of things looted by the robbers.
“Mommy! Mommy!! My School bag! My School bag!” The boy shouted, pointing at his School bag among heap of things carted by the criminals. On opening the bag, the police confirmed that it contains the little boy’s books and writing materials. Truly, in keeping with its slogan that “Police is your friend”, CSP Okpara immediately ordered the School bag to be released to the boy to enable him go to School.
In a related development, on Monday 22nd June, 2015, the Eleme Police Division under the leadership of CSP Okpara also recorded another success as they curbed the AP area, opposite Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC), Alesa Eleme. In the aftermath of the exchange of firing, two armed robbers were arrested with catchment of arms and ammunition. In the cause of interrogation one of the robbers revealed that at the AP a gun can be procured for as low as N3,000.00 (three thousand Naira) only.
“The guns are supplied to us by someone from Okrika for N3,000.00. But, we are forbidden from coming into direct contact with the supplier or know his name. It is boss talk to boss”, one of the arrested robbers confessed.
According the captured robbers, an uncompleted building along East-West Road, Eleme New Town, Ogale is where their loots are shared.
Earlier hunts for this notorious gang by the Eleme Police Division ended in futility as the bandits are always a step ahead of the police before nemesis finally caught up with them.
Upon a tip off the police arrived at their hideout, determined. But the robbers were not weak-kneed as well. They engaged the police in a fierce shooting, which prompted them to make a spirited attempt to escape. But the police team rose to the occasion as some robbers met their waterloo in the exchange of fire.
In another development, the Eleme Police also proved that they are on top of the situation when CSP Okpara led his men to defeat another gang of armed robbers after a frenzy gun battle at Oken Eta, Ogale on Thursday 25th June, 2015; at the end of which two robbers died while two others escaped with bullet wounds.
The armed robbers who have some of them dressed in Military Camouflage Uniform were well-armed with riffles and enough ammunition.
Narrating his experience, CSP Okpara said, “As we approached the scene, we were told that the robbers had held their victims hostage in their home, under the heavy rains. But, with courage and determination, we moved in and dislodged them”.
The way and manner the police in Eleme executed these fatal onslaughts against men of the under-world without losing one of their own shows their preparedness and mastery of modern law enforcement techniques.
The police boss while expressing the Division’s appreciation to members of the public whose information facilitated the eventual apprehension of the bandits urged the public to always cooperate with the police by providing the police with relevant real-time information about crime and criminals in their neighbourhoods.
He observed that the police are out to eliminate crimes and criminals from Eleme; and appealed to operators of hospitals, clinics, and other health facilities in Eleme and environs to report anyone with gunshot wounds to the police.
Okpara advised criminals to leave Eleme, stressing that, “There is no hiding place for criminals in Eleme”. He emphasized that the recent police triumph is a pointer to the determination of the Eleme Police Division to rid Eleme of crimes and criminals. He pointed out emphatically that measures were being taken against all black spots with the launch of the “Operation Rid Eleme of criminals” aimed at addressing security challenge in Eleme. In his words, “Police are working round the clock to ensure that Eleme is conducive for business without fear of any threat or molestation”.
The police boss advised those who fled from Ebubu at the heat of the criminal activities in the area to return as the police is at the top of the security situation, emphasizing that law abiding citizens and residents are to go about their legitimate businesses without fear.
Speaking through its Secretary, High Chief M. O. Ollorwi, the Ebubu Council of Traditional Rulers, Chiefs and Elders, had commended the Eleme Police Division under the leadership of CSP Nathaniel Okpara for returning peace and security to Ebubu and urged all those who left the community during the rival cult clashes to return home as normalcy has been restored.
As the police carry out onslaught against crimes and criminals in Eleme, it is the responsibility of the public to assist the police by giving them useful real-time information. By so doing you are helping to rid our towns and villages of all sorts of crimes and criminals. Besides, having achieved these feats, the police deserve our commendation, support, and encouragement.