No fewer than 83 suspected cultists, armed robbers and others were, on Tuesday, paraded publicly in Makurdi by the Benue Police Command, following a crack down on criminal activities in the state during the festive period.
The State Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr Mukaddas Garba, told newsmen that the command also recovered 13 guns, 20 cutlasses/knives, five live ammunition, five cartridges, army uniforms, bullet proof jacket, among others, from the suspects.
Garba said that the suspected cultists were arrested between Dec. 20 and Jan. 5, at different locations within the State, explaining that in 2020 the command arrested and arraigned over 200 suspected cultists in court, most of whom were later convicted.
In preparation for the festive period and as a strategy to clamp down on cult activities and other heinous crimes in Benue state, the Command deployed Police Officers to various locations to arrest identified cultists.
“Let me use this medium to appreciate the good people of Benue State, for their conduct and cooperation with the police during the festivities and assure you that the command is committed to the fight against crime,” he said.
He said between Dec, 20 and Jan. 5 one Festus Ijiwole, also known as RANKY, Musa Saleh Ibrahim, Raymond Musa and 73 others were arrested at different locations in Makurdi.
Garba said the command recovered three locally made pistols, three single barrels cut to size guns, three live cartridges, five axes, 14 cutlasses, six knives, military camouflage uniforms, two bullet proof vests, two suspected stolen laptops, arrows and charms from them, during a search of their houses.
The Commissioner of Police further disclosed that all the suspects would be charged to court, while narrating other criminal incidences that occurred in the state between December and Jan. 3.
“On Dec. 4, one Kenneth Terkyom, and one other, conspired and robbed a cyclist of his motorcycle. The cyclist raised alarm and a mob within the area arrested the suspects and set one of them ablaze before the Police arrived and rescued the Kenneth,” he said.
The CP also said that on Dec. 21, information was received that a businessman was attacked in front of Polaris Bank, Gboko, police officers on patrol intervened and arrested one Chukwuebuka Chukwuma, while members of his gang escaped.
One Aondoakura Tingir and others now at large, on Dec. 25 also conspired and robbed a complainant of his motorcycle at Daudu and but was arrested during Police investigation.
Garba added that on Dec. 26, Police Officers on patrol at Otukpo and Okpokwu Local Government Areas arrested one Stephen Eda in possession of two locally made pistols, fake dollar notes and assorted charms, while Michael Adah was arrested in Okpokwu, in possession of one locally made pistol.
“On Jan. 3 also, a patrol team in Makurdi arrested one Mohammad Obeka with phones suspected to be stolen and during investigation, the suspect led the Police to one Francis Ikyo, one of his gang members, where one locally made pistol with four rounds of live ammunition were recovered in his house.