Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force have arrested a criminal syndicate responsible for recent economic sabotage and vandalism of rail tracks in the North-West and North-Central parts of the country.
CP Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, FPRO, who confirmed the arrest via a statement issued today, said the arrest of the suspects follows deliberate efforts by the Force to contain and clampdown on perpetrators of recent incidents of rail tracks vandalism, carting away of critical locomotive equipment and other related economic crimes in some parts of the country.
According to Mba, the arrested vandals are among a total of thirty-six notorious criminal suspects arrested by the Police recently for offences of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, possession of illegal firearms, cultism, murder, economic sabotage, cybercrime, car snatching, etc.
The arrests were achieved as a result of sustained nationwide tactical, anti-crime operations by the Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, and the Special Tactical Squad, STS, in the ongoing efforts aimed at stemming criminal activities particularly violent crimes in the country.
Weapons and vehicles recovered in the operations include: 8 AK49 rifles, 3 AK47 rifles, 1 locally made rifle, 346 rounds of AK47 live ammunition, 24 live cartridges, 20 AK47 magazine, 2 Toyota Corolla (Abuja – RBC 653 AE and ABC 906 AG), 1 Toyota Camry, one 307 Peugeot (Abuja – BWR 920 HK), one 406 Peugeot and one Honda civic. Also recovered was a cash sum of One million, Four Hundred Thousand naira (N1,400,000).
The suspects involved in the rail track vandalism, Idris Lawal, aged 42, Abdullahi Musa, ‘m’, aged 29, and Usman Umar ‘m’, aged 22, were arrested following a coordinated intelligence-driven special operation on 27th May, 2021, which uncovered a warehouse in Gboko LGA of Benue State.
A cordon and search operation conducted by the Police operatives on the building revealed different vandalized rail equipment, stolen rail installation racks, weld-shear, rail puller, other rail accessories and consumables.
Further investigations by the Police team led to the interception of three heavy-load trucks along Ikom-Ibom junction in Cross River State, which were fully loaded with vandalized rail items transported from the warehouse.
Mba disclosed in the statement that Investigation is ongoing to identity the destination, the targeted criminal receivers, end-users and other suspects complicit in the crime.
In a similar vein, a notorious 6-man armed robbery and kidnapping syndicate linked to several violent crimes in Ondo and Ekiti axis of the South-Western part of the country has been arrested.
The arrest follows the trailing and arrest of one 60-year-old Umar Mohammed who had been on the wanted list of the Police for transporting firearms and ammunition on behalf of notorious criminals who have carried out major operations in the South-West States.
Further investigations by the Police team led to the arrest of five of his gang members – Umar Abubakar, 22yrs, Muhammed Bello, 52yrs, Sale Lawali, 25yrs, Usman Muhammed, 20yrs and Musa Ibrahim, 53yrs, all male, who utilize the weapons he provided to carry out series of kidnapping and armed robbery operations in the country.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba has expressed confidence that no stone would be left unturned until all public spaces are reclaimed from criminal elements and a comfortable level of public safety and security achieved in all parts of the country.
He had enjoined citizens to continue to support the Police and the security community as they carry out the tasks of returning our country to the path of peace and security.
All the suspects will be charged to court on completion of investigations.