PRESS BRIEFING BY CP CHRIS O. EZIKE, COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, IMO STATE COMMAND ON THURSDAY 7TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2017 AT COMMAND HEADQUARTERS, OWERRI-IMO STATE.
Gentlemen of the Press,
I address you this afternoon with a lot of mixed feelings. I am delighted that the Police Command under my watch has made major break throughs in criminal investigation leading to the arrest of dare-devil suspected criminals, recovery of exhibits and dismantling of the various criminal gangs/cells. However, I am pained by the fact that some of the activities of these enemies of society have brought sadness, anxiety and general apprehension to Nigerians especially with the abduction and murder of Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo of Umuotuasi Village, Osina in Ideato North LGA of Imo State on 1st September, 2017 at Banana Junction Orlu, Imo State.
2. Consequently this press briefing will address three major break throughs by detectives/Operatives of Imo State Command which investigation has been painstaking, ardous, passionate, detailed and fruithful.
A. KIDNAPPING/ARMED ROBBERY/MURDER OF REV. FR. CYRIACUS ONUNKWO:-
i. On the 1st of September, 2017 at about 2035hrs, Police received a report that four armed men using a Toyota Avalon car double-crossed Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo who was driving in his Toyota Corrolla car with Registration No. IMO KED 290 AA, grey in colour, abducted him into their Avalon car and sped off to unknown destination. The incident was said to have happened at Banana Junction, Orlu. The Police subsequently declared a search and on 2nd September, 2017, the Divisional Police Officer Omuma reported that an unidentified corpse of a man was seen in his area of jurisdiction and recovered to the mortuary. In furtherance thereof, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Obialisi and DPO Orlu were alerted and they rushed to Omuma and identified the corpse as that of the Kidnapped Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo.
ii. It became a sad moment for the Command because of the unusual nature of the incident and the speed with which events unfolded leading to death. The Inspector-General of Police IGP Ibrhim K. Idris NPM, mni saddened by this development ordered full scale investigation. He directed that I should place all assets of the Command at the disposal of the investigation team to solve the problem.
iii. In compliance with the Inspector-General’s directive, I visited the Bishop of Orlu His Lordship Bishop Augustine Ukwuoma, the native Parish of the deceased Reverend St. Mary’s Parish Osina and the family of the Onunkwo’s at Osina on Monday 4th September, 2017. I ended the visit with a stop over on the ArchBishop of Owerri ArchBishop Anthony J. Obina. The visit was to express the condolences of the IGP and the Command and also enable me cultivate/build confidence in the investigative journey ahead. It paid off.
iv. The investigating team using Forensic technology and backed up by hardwork, committement, passion and hunger for success arrested Ex-Cpl Jude Madu who was found in possession of late Rev. Fr. Onunkwo’s Infinix telephone handset. Through a process of Intelligence/Investigative reconstruction, the following suspects were thereafter arrested:-
a. IZUCHUKWU OKAFOR ‘M’ aka “SMALL” 28years:-
He was arrested on the 6th of September, 2017 at Hotel Presidential Port Harcourt where he fled after the incident. He hails from Ukwukwa Village in Azia of Anambra State but resident at Rukpoku, Port Harcourt Rivers State. He took part in the commission of the crime and has confessed as well. He also confessed to other heinous crimes.
b. ONYEMA CYRIL ‘M’ 29years:-
He was arrested on the 6th of September, 2017 at Control Post Owerri. He hails from Umuaro Village, Okwelle in Onuimo LGA of Imo State. He holds a National Diploma in Public Administration from Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Imo State. He has confessed to the commission of the crime. He drove the Toyota Avalon ash colour saloon car with Registration No. ETU 368 AA with which the crime was committed.
c. EMMANUEL OZUIGBO ‘M’ 29years:-
He was arrested on 06/09/2017 at NNPC Mega Station by Control Post area in Owerri. He holds WASC. He hails from Mgbagbuowa in Ezeagu, Ezeagu LGA of Enugu State. He resides at Ama Hausa in Owerri. He confessed to the crime and the Wrist Watch of the Deceased Rev. Fr. was recovered from him.
d. VICTOR IKECHUKWU IROAKANZI ‘M’ 33years:-
He hails from Umuchukwu Umuagu, Obowo in Obowo LGA and was arrested on the 6th of September, 2017 at Mpama Egbu. He holds a B.Sc in Management Technology from Federal University of Technology Owerri. He is the owner of the Toyota Avalon car used in the commission of the crime.
e. IFECHUKWU NWOSU ‘M’ 28years:-
He was arrested on 7th of September, 2017 and hails from Azia in Ihialla LGA of Anambra State. He is resident in Azia and confessed to the crime.
f. EX-CPL JUDE MADU ‘M’ 32years:-
He hails from Umukishi Amuze Ahiara in Ahiazu Mbaise LGA of Imo state. He is a member of the armed robbery/kidnapping syndicate and took part in the operation. He holds a National Diploma from Abia State Polytechnic Aba and was arrested on 05/09/2017 at Control Post Owerri in possession of the Deceased’s phone. He confessed to the crime.
g. This investigation is 5days old today and investigators travased three States of Anambra, Imo and Rivers State to achieve great results. Though Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo died, his spirit lives on and will obviously teach the lesson that criminal impunity has a price. The investigators have continuously kept awake for 5days now and I am happy that their efforts were not in vain. I salute the courage and tenacity of the men of SARS Imo State Command and assure them that their hardwork shall be rewarded.
The Investigation is continuing because suspects have made other confessions not related to the case under investigation, which require extensive probing.
From the evidence available which is consistent with investigative thoughts, Re. Fr. Onunkwo was abducted, tied up, his mouth cellotaped and dumped in the booth of the Avalon car by the dare-devil hoodlums. He apparently gasped for air and could not make it. This interim finding is yet to be supported with scientific examination and opinion which further investigation intend to explore. For now, though we lost, humanity has won plentifully.
B. ARREST OF SUSPECTED KIDNAPPERS/ARMED ROBBERS:-
On 25/8/2017, operatives of the Command Anti kidnapping Squad in the course of Investigation using Forensic technology arrested five Kidnap and robbery suspects who were involved in the kidnap of the popular gospel singer, Prince Chinedu Nwadike and robbed him of his red coloured Honda CRV Jeep Reg. No. ABN 492 TS along World Bank road near Great gospel Liberation International Church, New Owerri on 10/7/2017 at about 1940hrs. The suspects collected a ransom of #4million from the victim’s relatives before he was released.
Suspects have confessed to the crime and the victims car recovered at Calabar – Cross River State. Suspects arrested are:
1. Chibuike Owen, male, 26 years of Umuogele Isiala Ngwa
2. Obinna Onye, male, 36 years of Umueze Amaimo in
Ikeduru LGA of Imo State
3. Chiagoziem Okoye, male, 36 years of Ukwulu Dunukofia
LGA of Anambra State
4. Chukwuemeka Daniel, male, 28 years of Ogwa Mbaitoli
LGA of Imo State
5. Anyanwu Odinakachi, male, 40 years of Umuobia Olokoro
in Umuahia South LGA of Abia State.
C. ARREST OF SUSPECTED KIDNAPPERS/ARMED ROBBERS:-
On 9/8/2017, sequel to the kidnap of Johnbosco Okoro ‘m’ and Njoku Mathias Emeka ‘m’, operatives of the Command Anti kidnapping Squad arrested four Kidnap and armed robbery suspects involved in the kidnap and robbery of a Toyota Venza, ash in colour Reg. number KTU 568 DE on 24/5/2017 at about 1000hrs at Umunkwo in Isiala Mbano LGA. The suspects collected a ransom of #6million before releasing the victims. The suspects were arrested in the course of investigation into the case and they have confessed to crime. Suspects arrested are as follows:
1. Kelechi Aririguzo, male, 42 years of Ekwedim Isiala Mbano
LGA, Imo State
2. Alphonsus Aku, male, 42 years of Umuenyi Isiala Mbano
LGA, Imo State
3. Vitalis Nwaozuzu, male, 56 years of Umunkwo Isiala
Mbano LGA, Imo State
4. Maxwell Akubuisi, male, 45 years of Amuzari Isiala Mbano
LGA, Imo State.
In conclusion, I wish to appeal to the generality of the citizens of Imo State to continue to patronize our whistle blowing policy. As we have entered the ember months, the challenges may become increasingly visible but we assure Imolites of our capacity, capability and determination to continue to make Imo State safe and secure. Criminal impunity has a price and with our renewed vigour and zeal, criminals may pay the price sooner than expected. The Command is grateful to the Government of Imo State, the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, St. Mary’s Parish Osina, ArchBishop Anthony Obinna, the ONUNKWO family of Osina, the Police Community Relations Committee Imo State, the Media and indeed all Imolites and residents for their support during this investigation. Stay out of trouble and be law abiding.