Wild jubilation erupted in Rivers State, yesterday, following military confirmation that notorious kidnapper, cultist and killer, Johnson Igwedibia, aka Don Waney, has been killed by security operatives, Vanguard reports.
The 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, disclosed that a combined team of military, Department of State Services, DSS, and the Police killed Don Waney in a rented apartment, in an undisclosed community in Enugu State, alongside his second-in-command, one Ikechukwu, and one of his commanders.
The joint security force had launched a manhunt for the killer and his gang after they killed over 21 persons returning from Church services on New Year day in Omoku, Ogba/Ndoni/Egbema Local Government Area of the state.
‘How we killed him’
At the 6 Army Division, where the military displayed and handed the three bodies to the Police, outgoing General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Major General Eni-Obong Udoh, noted that Don Waney was killed in a joint operation involving the Army, Police and DSS.
Udoh said: “You can recall that in the early hours of January 1, 22 innocent people of Omoku were heartlessly murdered while returning from New Year Eve service.
“There was a presidential directive that the perpetrators of that act must be brought down. We were given a mandate to collaborate with other security agencies in the state to hunt the gang down.
“We trailed them to Enugu, where they were living in a rented apartment. They were living in Imo State before then. We collaborated with the GOC, in charge of 82 Division and raided their home.
“Don Waney was mastermind of the January 1 incident, but the attack was physically led by Ikechukwu, his Second-in-Command and there is another accomplice we will not mention now, but we will get him.
“We will not rest until we get all of them.”
Earlier raids, discoveries
Earlier, in a statement by Colonel Aminu Ilyasu, Deputy Director Army Public Relations, the military recalled that “in the early hours of Monday, November 20, 2017, troops of 6 Division, acting on credible information from some patriotic members of the public, raided Don Waney’s enclave in Omoku, ONELGA, Rivers State, where shocking discoveries of assorted weapons, dynamites, bags of suspected cannabis, full military camouflage uniforms, military boots, military communication radios, 10 human skulls and human bones were discovered.
“Additionally, in continuation of the operation, on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, the troops also exhumed decomposing bodies of some of his victims in his shrine, with the media present.
“Perhaps not satisfied with the numerous lives of innocent citizens he took, Don Waney masterminded the despicable New Year day mayhem in Omoku, in which he led his notorious gang of criminals to murder 23 peace-loving citizens of Omoku, who were returning from service at about 1:30a.m., on Monday January 1.
“Intense surveillance activities on him and his gang by the Department of State Services, DSS, Rivers State Command, revealed that after committing these atrocities he relocated to a neighbourhood within Enugu town in Enugu State, where he rented an apartment and started living among unsuspecting neighbours within the community.”
Colonel Ilyasu continued: “From the relative safety of his hideout, Don Waney was already perfecting plans to wreak mayhem in Omoku in which he was to attack churches, schools, Army and Police locations and residences of already traumatised Omoku populace.
“Following his successful geo-location of his new Enugu hideout by the DSS, a combined team of troops of 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, and personnel of DSS Rivers State Command raided the hideout to arrest him and his other accomplices.
“Incidentally on sensing that the combined team were closing in on him, Don Waney, his Second-in-Command (Ikechukwu Adiele) and another gang member (Lucky Ode) attempted to escape through a back exit.
“But they were shot down by eagle-eyed troops. One of them died on the spot. Two others, who sustained gunshot injuries, eventually died while being evacuated for medical attention.
“The remains of Don Waney and his cohorts were brought back to Port Harcourt Rivers State by the combined team and handed over to the Rivers State Police Command for further action.”
The Army condoled with families of victims killed in the January 1 attack, soliciting further cooperation in volunteering useful information to track down and arrest the remaining gang members to return peace to the area.
Rivers govt identify body
Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike on Amnesty, Sir Ken Chinda, who visited to see the remains of the criminals his team had offered amnesty on October 5, 2016, confirmed that one of the corpse, indeed, was that of Don Waney.
Chinda said: “When we had the interface, we told them that the amnesty is not a cover, that if they go against the terms of the amnesty they will face the law.
“We are happy and commend the gallantry of the Army and other sister agencies. Nobody, who has accepted amnesty, should go back to crime. We will continue to have zero tolerance for criminality and cultism. With the development there will be total peace in ONELGA.”
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Ahmed Zaki, remarked: “The security agencies are working hand-in-hand and you can see the result of that synergy. We will not rest until we get all of them.
“Crime does not pay. The hand of the law must catch up with you. The people should give us useful information that is all we need. We will take the battle to communities of the state and we must return peace.”
Suppressed jubilation in ONELGA
A paramount ruler in ONELGA, who spoke in palpable fear, said: “It is no longer news that the kingpin and two of his men have been gunned down. It is a minus to his gang.
“Some are still expressing doubt about it because we heard that it was the jubilation people had, when news came in November last year that he has been killed, was why he picked offence and came for the mayhem of January 1.
“People in Omoku are reluctant to celebrate because of fear. Based on the confirmation I think his killing will usher in peace in ONELGA.
“Those people who depend on him will be weakened by the development and ONELGA, as a land flowing with milk and honey, will regain its glory again. We commend the security agencies for their effort.”
Drama, suspense in Omoku
Meanwhile at Omoku, unconfirmed reports say local vigilante group, ONELGA Security, Peace and Advisory Committee, OSPAC, was set to parade and execute three other apprehended Don Waney disciples.
Vanguard’s tour guide on an earlier visit to Omoku said: “We hear that by today, OSPAC was bringing three of Don Waney’s men to Omoku.
“From what we are hearing, they will bring them to OSPAC headquarters in ONELGA secretariat and kill them.
“There is relief here, but people cannot do it loudly in the open because of past experiences. When they first said he was killed, people rejoiced only for him to resurface and kill more people.”
No peace for the wicked—Bereaved husband
Meanwhile, Bright Nwokocha, who lost his wife, Joy, in the New Year morning massacre, said: “I said it; there is no peace for the wicked.
“They killed my wife, shot my daughter and felt it will be well with them? Their punishment has just started. But it is not just about the blood of my innocent wife. Omoku needs peace.
“We all need peace and God will ensure that the blood of my wife and those of all other innocent persons murdered would speak and bring peace to ONELGA.”