A combined team of men of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Army has killed three persons alleged to be the masterminds of the New Year day massacre, which claimed over 17 Christian worshippers in Omoku, headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of Rivers State.
Ejima Igwedibia, popularly known as Don Waney; was killed along his second-in-command, Ikechukwu Adiele and another gang member, Lucky Ode, by operatives of the DSS, Rivers State Command and soldiers from 82 Division, Nigeria Army, at his rented apartment in Enugu.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday by the deputy director, Army public relations, 6 Division, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, noted that the trio were shot at when they attempted escaping from the exit of the rented apartment after sensing that security operatives had closed in on them.
Iliyasu stated that while one of them died on the spot, two others died on their way to the hospital.
He said, “The authorities of 6 Division Nigerian Army Port Harcourt wish to inform the peace loving people of Omoku in ONELGA in particular, Rivers State and indeed the entire good people of Niger Delta in general that the notorious cult leader, kidnap kingpin and mass murderer Don Waney is dead.
“Recall that in the early hours of Monday 20th November 2017, troops of 6 Division Nigerian Army acting on credible information from some patriotic members of the public raided the evil Don Waney enclave in Omoku, ONELGA Rivers State where shocking discoveries of assorted weapons, dynamites, bags of suspected cannabis, full military camouflage uniforms, military boots, military communication radios, 10 human skulls and human bones were discovered”.
Iliyasu hinted that in continuation of their operation on November 21, 2017, the troops also exhumed decomposing bodies of some of Don Waney victims in his shrine, an exercise he said was done in the glaring eyes of journalists invited to witness it first hand.
He noted: “Perhaps not satisfied with the numerous lives of innocent citizens he took, Don Waney masterminded the despicable New Year day mayhem in Omoku in which he led his notorious gang of criminals to murder 23 peace loving citizens of Omoku when they were returning from Cross Over Service at about 1:30am on Monday 1st January 2018.
“Intense surveillance activities on him and his gang by the Department of State Services (DSS) Rivers State Command revealed that after committing these atrocities he relocated to a neighbourhood within Enugu Town in Enugu State where he rented an apartment and started living among unsuspecting neighbours within the community.
“From the relative safety of his newly-rented apartment, Don Waney was already perfecting plans to wrought another mayhem in Omoku in which he was to attack churches, schools, Army and Police locations and the RESIDENCES of the generality of the already traumatized people of Omoku.
“However, following his successful geo-location to his new Enugu neighbourhood hideout by the DSS Rivers State Command, a combined team of troops of 82 Division Nigerian Army Enugu and personnel of DSS Rivers State Command raided the hideout to arrest him and his other accomplices”.
The Army spokesman continued: “Incidentally on sensing that the combine team were closing in on his residence, Don Waney, his Second- in- Command (Ikechukwu Adiele) and another gang member (Lucky Ode) attempted to escape through the back exit of the apartment and were shot down by the eagle eyed troops in the process. One of them died on the spot while the other 2 who sustained gun shot wounds eventually died while being evacuated for medical attention.
“The remains of Don Waney and his cohorts were brought back to Port Harcourt Rivers State by the combine team and handed over to the Rivers State Police Command for further action. To this end, the authorities of 6 Division Nigerian Army Port Harcourt wishes to use this opportunity to extend their condolences to the families of all the victims of the evil Don Waney and his gang.
“We also wish to solicit your further cooperation in volunteering useful information to track down and arrest the remaining gang members so as to bring them to justice for a peaceful, prosperous and secured Omoku community, ONELGA, Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta region”.
How We Killed Them – Army
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army yesterday recounted how its soldiers, in collaboration with operatives of the DSS trailed and killed the suspected masterminds of New Year day massacre of over 20 Christian worshippers in Omoku community of Rivers State.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt, the outgoing General Officer Commanding, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Major-Gener Enobong Udoh, said the decision to track down Johnson Ejima Igwedibia, aka Don Waney, and his gang members followed a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Udoh recalled that after the mayhem in which 22 innocent citizens of Omoku in Rivers State were ruthlessly murdered while returning from crossover service in the early hours of the New Year day, there was a directive from the president that the “heartless killers and the perpetrators of that mayhem must be hunted down and brought to book.
“This directive was conveyed in a mandate by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai to the 6 Division to collaborate with the DSS, the Police and all the other security agencies in Rivers State to hunt down and bring to book the perpetrators of that mayhem. This is simply what happened”, he added.
On how security operatives proceeded to gun down the culprits, GOC said, “We collaborated with other security agencies and we trailed Don Waney and some of his gang members to Enugu. They were initially hiding somewhere in Imo State; we later traced them down to Enugu, where he rented an apartment, lived with other people in the neighbourhood like normal people and from there, they were already planning another mayhem in Omoku.
“So, we moved from there, we collaborated with the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Enugu and we were able to raid his hideout in Enugu. In the process, Don Waney was running away and our troops shot at them and these are the criminals as you can see. This is exactly how we were able to achieve this feat.
“I want to mention the fact that Don Waney, the leader of the criminal and murderous gang was the mastermind of that 1st January massacre in Omoku. But that operation was physically led by Ikechukwu, his No.2, who is physically here right now. There is another person who I don’t want to mention that also led that operation. We will not rest until we bring all of them to book”.
Speaking also, the Rivers State commissioner of Police, Ahmed Zaki, assured that security agencies are working round the clock to ensure that people live in peace and go about their lawful businesses without molestation.
Zaki said, “The security agencies here are working hand in hand and you can see the outcome of synergy. The perpetrators have been gunned down after an exchange of gunfire. Security agencies are working round the clock to ensure that people live in peace and go about their lawful business without molestation. I can assure you. We will not rest till we get all the criminals arrested and brought to book.
“I want everybody to understand that crime does not pay. You can see a typical example today that the long arm of the law would always catch up with criminals like these. They think they are above the law, but you can see what has happened to them now.
“We are going everywhere and we are taking the battle to their hideouts and we will get them arrestssed. We have the profile of these criminals and I can assure you that we are taking the battle to their hideout. We know where most of them are hiding. We will arrest and prosecute them”.
Osinbajo Warns Against Politicisation Of Killings
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has warned against playing politics with the killings in Benue, Rivers, Kaduna and some other states of the federation.
Speaking at an Interdenominational service to mark this year’s Armed Forces remembrance day in Abuja yesterday, Osinbajo said one of the reasons why Boko Haram had thrived for years was because of the politicisation of the insurgency.
Recalling that there are those who were benefiting politically from the Boko Haram tragedies and painting the then opposition as the perpetrators, Osinbajo noted that some persons who want to benefit politically from the Benue, Rivers, Adamawa and Kaduna killings are stoking the embers of ethnicity and religion.
Urging Nigerians to rigorously defend the unity and territorial integrity of Nigeria by words and actions, the VP said, “We have also seen even recently the killings that have resulted from attacks of herdsmen on farmers and communities and also where farmers and communities have attacked herdsmen, the spate of violence and loss of lives in Rivers State and the Badoo killings in Lagos and Ogun States.
“The president has ordered the police and the armed forces to deal decisively with these killings and to ensure that the perpetrators are found and punished. The president has also in almost daily meetings, and strategy sessions with relevant security and law enforcement agencies worked to find lasting solutions.
“But we must also not permit the politicization of these tragedies. One of the reasons why for years Boko Haram thrived was because of the politicization of the insurgency. There were those, who planning to benefit politically from the tragedies, painted opposition as the perpetrators.
“Again we see some today who want to benefit politically from the killing of women and children in Benue and Adamawa and as such, stoking the embers of ethnicity and religion. By their hate speeches they want to fix the criminal acts of a few individuals on whole ethnic groups; they want to create a religious crises if they are allowed.
“Our obligation is to stop them from playing dangerous politics that could threaten our unity and stability, just as we continue to enforce the peace in troubled areas. As Bishop Benjamin Kwashi said it is the poor and helpless who suffer the most from crisis and it is they that we have sworn to protect”.
Osinbajo further described the Nigerian Armed Forces as the bastion and exemplar of national unity, saying they are Nigerian men and women of every tribe and religion, standing side by side in the gravest danger, being harmed and dying side by side under one flag and in defense of one nation.
“Our Nation today stands as one to honour those who paid and continue to pay the price night and day for our safety and the safety of our land. We pledge that the labours of these heroes past shall not be in vain”, he stated.
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