The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Aboki Danjuma, has increased police presence in the Owerri West Local Government Area of the state.
This is to curb the upsurge in violent crimes like kidnappings, rape, and murder in a forest spanning across the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nekede, Ihiagwa, Avu, and Obinze communities, all in the Owerri West LGA.
On January 24, 2024, the command said its operatives rescued the immediate past chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Samuel Ohiri, from the kidnappers’ den after spending about three weeks there.
Abduction is one of the most prominent vices in the state and other parts of the country.
Similarly, in December 2023, those who abducted the parish priest of St. Michael’s Catholic Church Umuekebi in the Osuowerre autonomous community in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of the state, Rev. Fr. Kingsley Eze, also known as Father Ichie, together with his driver, Uchennna Newman, demanded N10m in ransom.
A statement issued by the spokesman for the police in the state, Henry Okoye, in Owerri, the state capital, on Friday, disclosed that the CP’s action was propelled by the recent discovery of three decomposed corpses in the forest, believed to be victims of kidnapping.
A few days ago, the CP led his men into the forest, exhumed three bodies of kidnapping victims, and arrested five suspects who hail from the northern states of the country.
The forest had been serving as a den for suspected Fulani herdsmen kidnappers who had been terrorising the Owerri-Port Harcourt expressway axis of the state.
Meanwhile, many kidnapped victims and their relatives had severally accused Fulani herdsmen of addicting them or their relatives in that axis.
The statement read, “The Commissioner of Police Imo State Command, CP Aboki Danjuma, in his continued commitment to improving the overall safety and security of the state, has, on 1/2/2024, convened a pivotal security meeting with the stakeholders of all the communities in Owerri West LGA.
“The meeting was necessitated by an upsurge in violent crimes in these areas and the recent discovery of three unidentified decomposing corpses suspected to be kidnapped victims in a forest spanning across FUTO, Nekede, Ihiagwa, and Obinze.
“The meeting, which was held at the Ihiawa Civil Clan Centre, provided an opportunity for the CP and his management team to interact and cross-fertilise ideas with stakeholders of the respective communities in Owerri West LGA on the prevalent security challenges within their locality and collaboratively roll out proactive strategies that will improve the peace and security of their communities and other areas in the state.
The all-important security meeting had in attendance representatives of the Commander 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Director of DSS, Imo State Command, Traditional Rulers of Eziobodo, Okolochi, Umuokpo, Nekede, Obinze, and Eziokole communities, Sarki Hausawa of the region, and delegates from Ihiagwa, Umuchima, Obinze, Umuanunu, the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), the Hunters Association, and other communities in Owerri West LGA.
“They interacted and shared ideas on how to peacefully coexist and assist security operatives in the onslaught against crimes and criminality in the state.
Earlier the same day, CP Danjuma, in furtherance of his proactive community policing strategy of combating crime, paid a familiarisation visit to the Vice Chancellor of FUTO.
“During this, he solicited more partnerships, particularly in the provision of actionable intelligence that will assist the Command in providing maximum safety for the staff and students of FUTO.
“Accordingly, the CP has deployed more operational men to Owerri West LGA and tasked them to work in robust synergy with other security agencies and the local vigilante.
“He assured the good people of Imo State that similar stakeholders’ security meetings will be replicated continuously across the 27 LGAs of the state,” the statement further noted.