THE Ebonyi Police Command has warned criminals and those destroying billboards and posters of politicians in the state to either relocate, turn a new leaf or be ready to face the consequences of their action.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Muhammad Mustafa, gave the warning at a news briefing in Abakaliki on Tuesday.
Reading out the riot act to criminals and would-be criminals, Mustafa admonished that the state would no longer be conducive for them to carry out their nefarious activities.
He advised those engaged in the destruction of party flags, campaign posters and billboards of political parties or contestants to desist forthwith.
According to him, the command, in a bid to curtail such ugly and unlawful developments, has established a committee to handle reported cases of damaged billboards by thugs, hoodlums and other miscreants.
He also said that the command had established a special squad that would swiftly respond to vandalism of billboards and destruction of political posters.
Mustafa, therefore, urged party leaders and officials to advise their members against running against the law, noting that consequences could be grave.
He said that the deployment of surveillance patrol, interagency collaboration, adoption of community and intelligence-led policing methods stemmed criminal activities during the last festive period in the area.
The police commissioner said that the command was committed to sustaining the tempo, especially as the elections draw closer.
He also said that efforts of men and officers of the command led to the killing of suspected bandits during an exchange of gunfire and arrest of others, at different locations in the state.
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According to him, the police on Jan. 3 at about 9:30 p.m. dislodged a gang of armed robbers numbering about 10 operating along Amasiri/Oso Edda along Afikpo-Okigwe highway.
“Men of the State Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) swiftly responded to the distress call and mobilised to the scene.
“On sighting our men, the robbers opened fire and in the ensuing gun battle, our men shot and wounded two of the suspected criminals while eight ran into the bush.
“Two of the gang later died at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki due to bullet wounds sustained during the exchange of fire.
“Guns, dangerous weapons and items stolen from their victims were recovered by our men at the scene,” Mustafa said.
He said that the police also arrested a couple, over the alleged murder of a yet-to-be-identified woman.
The incident, he said, took place on Dec. 2, 2018, at Crown Guardian Hotel, Abakaliki.
“Mr Emmanuel Eze reported that an already decomposing body of an unknown lady was discovered in room 403 of the hotel.
“Police operatives visited the scene, evacuated the deceased to the mortuary for preservation and autopsy.
“Before the gory incident, another attempted murder of one Chisom Ugwu, found in a pool of her blood occurred on Nov. 6, 2018, behind Girls Secondary School, Azuiyiokwu near the Crown Garden Hotel.
“The victim, a pregnant, later regained consciousness and narrated the incident which was linked also to one of the suspects.
“He was arrested by our men, who also recovered the victim’s 2-year-old girl, stolen and sold at Iguruata Etche in Rivers, at the cost of N200, 000.
The police boss, who said that two other children trafficked by the suspects were also recovered by the police, said the suspects had been charged to court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that one other suspect was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition while two were arrested for attempting to steal a tricycle.