We can now celebrate Xmas in peace –Abia residents

Date: 14-12-2010 12:06 pm (13 years ago) | Author: Aliuniyi lawal
- at 14-12-2010 12:06 PM (13 years ago)

RESIDENTS of Aba, the commercial city of Abia State, are still jubilating over the death of the

dreaded kidnapper and armed robber, Obinna Nwankwo, aka Osisikankwu.

Nwankwo was gunned down around 3pm on Sunday by operatives of a special military troop in a forest near Oboekwe Market Square in Ukwa West Local Government Area of the state.

The suspect was declared wanted by the police after his name was repeatedly mentioned in many kidnapping and armed robbery cases. Soldiers were later drafted in as security agents intensified their efforts to apprehend him.

Some of the victims that were allegedly kidnapped by Nwankwo and members of his gang reportedly paid huge sums of money as ransoms before they were released.

But it was the end of the road for the dreaded Nwankwo and two members of his gang identified simply as Chinedu and Polycarp.

Members of the gang, however, resisted when the security agents told them to surrender. PUNCH METRO gathered that the bandits confronted the security agents and engaged them in gun battle.

Although there was a myth surrounding Nwankwo as many Aba residents believed that the kingpin had protective charms, our correspondent gathered that he died in the forest after being hit by the security agents’ bullets. Polycarp also died on the spot, while Chinedu died at the Military Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

When news filtered in that Nwankwo and some members of his gang had been killed, there was wild jubilation in Umuahia, Aba and other neighbouring communities.

At Ohabia community in Aba, residents were seen discussing the development and how they would celebrate the Yuletide without worrying about Nwankwo and members of his gang.

One of the residents, who identified himself simply as Emmanuel told PUNCH METRO that the death of the kingpin was worth celebrating because of the alleged havoc caused by the gang.

Emmanuel, who resides in Ohabia, pointed out that with the death of Nwankwo, indigenes of the state, who were based in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country would be able to come to the state to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

“Many of our brothers outside Abia State were not ready to come back home during this coming Christmas because of the rate of kidnapping and armed robberies perpetrated by Nwankwo and members of his gang,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to the special military troops that ensured the killing of the alleged most wanted criminal in the state.

Also, another resident in Abayi, who identified herself simply as Roseline, said with the development, Aba people that resided outside the state would have a reason to visit home during the Yuletide period.

She explained that before the killing of Nwankwo, many were living in fear, saying the death of the bandits was a welcome development.

“You remember that all the banks in Aba closed down because of the activities of this man. Even the police could not stop him. We are happy that he has finally died,” Roseline said.

While showing Nwankwo’s corpse to newsmen, the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Enugu, Maj.-Gen. Sarkin-Yaki Bello, urged the people of the state not to entertain any fear, adding that Abia was safe for all law abiding people.

Bello on Monday in Asa camp of the special military troop said their operations, which began in September 2010, was ongoing, even as he warned that the state was no longer a safe haven for criminals.

He called on criminal elements to shun crimes and surrender themselves to the troops before they were caught.

Bello assured the people that he would be in the state during the Yuletide; noting that this was necessary in order to flush out the remaining hoodlums within the state.

“I have a long list of these criminals and many of them have gone, including Osisikankwu (Nwankwo). We will not leave any stone unturned to ensure that we rid the state of criminals,” Bello added.

Speaking with newsmen, one of the kidnapped victims, said although he managed to escape after he was kidnapped by the gang, the hoodlums went back to set his house and vehicle ablaze.

The kidnapped victim said his wife and four children were later taken away by the dreaded criminals. He thanked the special military troop for rescuing members of his family.

Thirteen victims, including a woman, with her seven-month-old child, who had been in the gang’s hideout since Saturday, were rescued by the troop.

Spokesman of the troop, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, showed newsmen the cache of arms and ammunition recovered by the army during the raid of Nwankwo’s camp and others in Abala in Obingwa Local Government.

Posted: at 14-12-2010 12:06 PM (13 years ago) | Gistmaniac