A dismissed personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS), Prosper Israel and nine other suspected robbers were on Monday paraded by the Abia State Police Command.
The suspects were said to be part of a 14-man arm robbery gang that waylaid a bullion van near Ntigha Junction , along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway, on July 26.
The cash officer of a new generation bank was killed on the spot while the suspects carted away unspecified cash during the attack.
Three police escorts sustained life-threatening injuries, while one of the robbers neutralized by the security men during a gun duel.
The state Commissioner of Police (CP), Janet Agbade, said their arrest boils down to the reward of months of painstaking efforts and investigation.
“I carefully studied their modus operandi and set up a special intelligence technologically-led Investigative squad ( ITLIS) with a clear directive to arrest and recover weapons used by the deadly armed robbery gang,” the CP said.
”Consequently, the Investigation used systematically commenced operation, applying speed and accuracy, and on different locations and days, arrested the following callous armed robbery gang”, she added.
The police boss gave the names of the suspects as Adesoji Adeniyi from Ondo State; Nnamdi Nwaosu a.k.a “Prophet”; Chinwendu Israel from Abia; and Prosper Israel (ex–DSS personnel), also from Abia.
Others were Nwachukwu Albert a.k.a White (first amourer), from Delta State, but resident in Lagos; Felix Ajaja from Ondo State; Moshood Opeyemi, from Osun State; and Matthew Christmas, also from Delta.
Among the suspects also were Azubuike Amaefula (aka) Zubby, from Abia; and Monday Samuel (second armourer), from Delta, but resident in Ondo.
Listed exhibits recovered from the suspect, she said, included a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG); 13 AK-47 riffles; one cut-to-size Double Barrell gun with five live cartridges and 84 AK-47 magazines.
Others include two improvised explosives dynamites; a Mercedes Benz mini truck used in concealing firearms; and N10, 184,000.
According to the CP, the suspects during interrogation confessed that they placed the bullion van on surveillance for two months.
The CP who said that efforts were on to trail three other members of the gang still at large, pleaded with members of the public to always volunteer information about suspected criminals around them.
She said that the suspects would be arraigned after further investigations.
One of the suspects and operational driver to the gang, Albert, said his role is to drive the weapin-laden truck to the location any time an operation is to happen.
He said five AK-47 riffles and one GPMG were concealed in the truck at the time of his arrest.
The Aniocha North LGA-born suspect said he dropped out from the University of Ado-Ekiti, and pleaded for forgiveness.
The suspect who said he deals in Denim (jeans) wares, explained he joined in the robbery operation to raise money to expand his business.
”I have never killed. My own job is to drive the vehicle to the scene of operation and hand over the guns,” he said.
The dismissed DSS officer also pleaded for forgiveness, claiming it was his first involvement in any crime.
He said he was initially serving at the Abia State Government House, but lost the job in 2007, following late reporting to a new posting. He however excused that it was his brother that gave him part of the money he got from the operation.
”My role in the operation was that I was in my house when my brother brought money and his colleagues and they shared and gave me part of it.
”I asked him and he told me how they got the money. I want to plead for forgiveness because I failed to rebuke him. So, it is obvious I participated because I can’t say I did not. But, it was not intentional and I want society to forgive us.”