The Nigeria police have arrested five suspected armed robbers in connection with December’s foiled Access Bank robbery in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The principal suspect and the mastermind of the foiled bank attack, who is an employee of the bank, Samuel Ndudiri, 28, was arrested with four others. They include an ex-police sergeant, Promise Ukwuoma; Samuel Nwala, 28; Lucky Ukwuoma, 26 and Kaale Taagabah, 27.
Recovered from the suspects are two AK 47 rifles and magazines fully loaded with ammunition, a welding machine, two gas cylinders and iron cutters, a big chisel, cutting saw, hammer and acetylene gas power.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Don Awunah, in a statement yesterday said the suspects and others still at large, had on December 22, 2016, stormed a branch of Access Bank in Port Harcourt, relying on information and active involvement of one of the staff of the bank.
“The armed robbers successfully broke down the well-fortified security doors and barriers and took over the banking hall. They were almost pulling down the vault of the bank and other strong rooms in the bank with the use of gas cylinder welding machine and iron cutters before the joint police teams of IGP’s Intelligence Response Team and policemen from Rivers State Police Command swiftly moved in and dislodged them, thereby foiling the robbery attack on the bank and arrested three of the suspects at the scene; namely Samuel Nwala, Lucky Ukwuoma and Kaale Taagabah.
“In the course of thorough investigation into the incident, the principal suspect, who is an employee of the bank and the mastermind of the armed robbery attack was subsequently arrested based on the confessional statements volunteered by the three suspects arrested at the scene,” he said.
Awunah said the arrest of the principal suspect led to the arrest of ex-sergeant, Promise Ukwuoma, who participated actively in the armed robbery attack, the two AK 47 riffles and the ammunition were recovered from him.
He added that all the suspects had volunteered useful statements to the police about the various roles they played in the crime. “However, concerted efforts are being intensified to arrest other suspects still at large and bring them to justice. The case will be charged to court on completion of investigation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday passed a bill aimed at checking the spate of kidnapping in the state into law, with stiffer penalties including death sentence for offenders. The lawmakers passed the Bill for a Law to Provide for the Prohibition of the Act of Kidnapping and for Other Connected Purposes after the third reading.
The passage of the bill was also sequel to the adoption of a report presented by Mrs. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Petitions, Human Rights and Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC).
Sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, it prescribes death sentence for kidnappers whose victims die in their custody and life sentence for kidnappers whose victims do not die in the hands of their abductors.
The bill states that any person who kidnaps, abducts, detains, captures or takes another person by any means or trick with intent to demand ransom or do anything against his/her will, commits an offence. The bill also stipulates life imprisonment for anyone who makes an attempt to kidnap another person. The bill prescribes seven years imprisonment for anyone making false representation to release a kidnapped or abducted person.