The on-going clamp down on criminals in Anambra State has landed Mr. Alphonsus Ngwu, a suspected arms dealer who is fingered for supplying arms to crime syndicates in the state in police net.
Mr. Ngwu who was paraded at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Headquarters, Awkuzu, along with a gang of four armed robbery suspects who specialised in snatching cars from unsuspecting victims, openly confessed to newsmen that he had been a gun-runner for over fifteen years.
Parading the suspects before newsmen in Awkuzu, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka explained that the suspects were arrested as part of the on-going crackdown on men of the underworld in the state along with the resolve of the Willie Obiano administration to achieve zero tolerance of crime in Anambra State.
According to Mr. Chukwuemeka, the arms dealer, Mr. Alphonsus Ngwu from Ugwuoba in Enugu State was arrested in his shop at the Main Market Onitsha where six (6) pump actions rifles, one (1) revolver pistol, six thousand, three hundred and ninety (6,390) live cartridges, sixty- two (62) rounds of five-point-six-five mm (5.65mm) live ammunition, seventy-four (74) rounds of nine mm (9mm) live ammunition, twelve (12) magazines for AK forty-seven (AK 47) rifle, two (2) magazines for K-two rifle (K-2), some dismantled parts of AK forty-seven (AK 47), one (1) general purpose machine gun ammunition and one (1) smoke cartridge were recovered.
Mr. Chukwuemeka revealed that the arms dealer receives his supply from abroad through one man simply known as Alhaji who is also in detention, further confirming that some armed robbery suspects had fingered Mr. Ngwu as their chief supplier of arms.
In a confessional statement, the arms dealer admitted that he had been in the business of importing and selling or firearms for over fifteen years.
The PPRO further disclosed that members of an armed robbery gang who specialized in snatching of vehicles were arrested in Ajalli area, Orumba North with two (2) locally made pistols, twelve (12) cartridges and charms while some stolen vehicles were recovered from them.
Reacting to news of the arrests, the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano lauded the men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for their exploits in the on-going campaign against criminals in the state.
Governor Obiano whose popularity has been on the upswing since he took over the reins of governance on March 17 this year also declared that the war against criminals had entered the second phase which would include going after their command and control base, targeting their arms suppliers as well as sealing off the routes through which arms are smuggled into the state.
Expressing delight at the breakthrough recorded by the Police, the Governor said, “Ndi Anambra can now go home and sleep peacefully. This war against criminals will be on throughout the life of my administration. More criminals, drug barons and arms dealers will be arrested and their routes blocked. All criminal suspects must be prosecuted and if convicted, face the full wrath of the law for their crimes. You know kidnapping attracts death penalty. We are going to ensure speedy trial of all those arrested.”
Obiano also announced that a structure was being worked out with the state Chief Judge that would help accelerate the dispensation of justice in Anambra State while a special court may be set up to compliment the conventional courts to ensure that no criminal would evade the law. Said he; “we can’t afford any delay in the delivery of justice in line with the resolve of this administration to sustain a comprehensive fight against the criminals.”
To further tighten the noose on the activities of criminals in the state, Obiano promised to provide a new gun-boat for the Nigerian Navy who are actively involved in the campaign to weed criminals out of the state.
He also assured that the state government would repair all grounded naval vessels and put them back into operation to enable the Navy secure the state’s water-ways effectively, stressing that most of the arms were smuggled into the state through the River Niger.