Saturday, July 13, 2024

Police nab Rivers’ syndicate targeting ride-hailing drivers for ritual purposes

“The driver was forcefully removed from the vehicle and taken to Effizy’s shrine, where he was tied up, gagged and gruesomely murdered.’’

• June 4, 2024
a criminal gang suspect
a criminal gang suspect [Credit NAN]

The police command in Rivers State has arrested some members of a criminal gang suspected to be murdering car-hire drivers and stealing their vehicles.

The command’s spokesperson, SP Grace Iringe-Koko, in a statement in Port Harcourt on Monday, linked the group to multiple cases of missing car-hire drivers.

She revealed that the arrest of a member, Anthony Chima, exposed the sinister activities of the gang in the state.

She stated, “The discovery of this criminal enterprise targeting Uber drivers in the state followed the disappearance of one Oghenevwarhe Barry Akpobome, an Uber driver. Upon investigating the disappearance, police operatives arrested one Anthony Chima, a 35-year-old graduate of political science from the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt. Under interrogation, Chima confessed to being recruited into a gang that specialised in luring taxi drivers into ambushes and stealing their vehicles.’’

Ms Iringe-Koko said that Mr Chima’s testimony showed the gang’s further gruesome actions of killing the drivers and harvesting their body parts for ritualistic purposes.

“The suspect said that he was introduced into the gang by his friend, Amfoh Abu, the group’s arms dealer, and another individual simply identified as ‘Reason.’ Investigation further revealed that ‘General Effizy,’ the gang’s leader, is a prominent figure in the Greenland cult and a seasoned kidnapper in the state,” she added.

The police spokesperson said that Mr Chima confessed that he randomly obtained the Uber drivers’ phone numbers and pretended to be a passenger in need of a ride.

She said that on January 10, Mr Chima contacted Mr Akpobome and directed the driver to pick him up at Reason’s residence.

“Disguised as a passenger, Chima lured the unsuspecting Uber driver to a remote area in Aminigboko, where he met Reason and General Effizy along with four-armed gang members. The driver was forcefully removed from the vehicle and taken to Effizy’s shrine, where he was tied up, gagged and gruesomely murdered. Chima later led the police to the shrine and Effizy’s residence, where personnel recovered the victim’s skull and a locally fabricated Beretta pistol,” she said.

Ms Iringe-Koko said that a manhunt had been launched to capture the fleeing gang members, stating that Mr Chima would be prosecuted.

She said that the state Commissioner of Police, Tunji Disu, advised Uber drivers to be cautious while picking up or transporting passengers, particularly to remote or potentially dangerous areas.

“The Akpobome incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers that lurk in the shadows and the importance of vigilance and cooperation with the law enforcement agencies,” the police spokesperson said.

(NAN)

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