The Commissioner of Police in Abia, Mr Ene Okon, said on Monday that the command arrested 78 suspects in the past three weeks in connection with kidnapping, armed robbery, car snatching, cultism and other violent crimes in different parts of the state.
Okon said this while briefing newsmen on the activities of the command and attributed the high number of arrest to the effective role of ‘Operation Puff Adder’ in crime busting in Abia.
He said that 22 of the suspects had been charged to court.
He lauded the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, for initiating the special operation which, he said, had proved to be an effective strategy in flushing out kidnapping and armed robbery in the state.
He also said that the command had begun to reap bountifully from the community policing initative.
According to him, most of the tip off that led to crime detection, prevention and arrest of suspects were provided by the locals.
“Community policing is a paradigm shift in the police because traditional policing, using conventional strategies, has failed.
“So we have embraced community policing wholeheartedly,” Okon said, adding that the command encouraged communities to form neighbourhood watch and vigilance groups.
He said: “The command has handed over policing to the communities to partner with the police in combating crime.
“We are not going to relent. Our aim is to ensure we bring down crime to a minimal level if we cannot eradicate it.”
The police boss further said that the command had successfully checked child trafficking in Abia through effective surveillance and collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs.
He said that the command now had a comprehensive record of registered motherless babies’ homes in the state.
He said that the command discovered that most of the child trafficking were carried out under the guise of motherless babies homes, “where babies are born and sold.”
He thanked Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu for his support, saying that the recent donation of operational vehicles to the command would help to enhance its operations.
In an interview with newsmen, 24-year-old Sunday Emmanuel from Obingwa Local Government Area (LGA) of Abia, who was arrested over alleged kidnap, along with one Etim Ebu from Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom, confessed to the crime.
Chimaobi Joel and Ukachukwu Udo from Obingwa and Isiala Ngwa south council areas of Abia also confessed to the crime but said they had asked God for forgiveness.
The police boss said that all the suspects would be charged to court at the end of the ongoing investigations.
(Edited by Sam Oditah)