The authorities of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt have disclosed how the security agencies tracked and finally killed notorious cult leader, kidnap kingpin and suspected mastermind of the New Year massacre in Omoku, Mr. Igwedibia Johnson, popularly called Don Waney, and two accomplices recently in Enugu.
The two accomplices were Don Waney’s second-in-command, Ikechukwu Adiele, and another gang member, Lucky Ode.
Addressing journalists Sunday at Bori Camp, Port Harcourt, while handing over the remains of the three dead suspects, the outgoing General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division, Major-General Enobong Udoh, said the achievement was as a result of the directive from President Muhammadu Buhari that the security agencies should fish out the perpetrators of the New Year day massacre in Omoku, Rivers State, in which several persons were killed after the crossover church service.
Udoh said: “You would recall that in the first hours of New Year day, there was mayhem in which 22 innocent citizens of Omoku in Rivers State were heartlessly murdered while coming back from the crossover service.
“After that, there was a presidential directive from Mr. President that the heartless killers and the perpetrators of that mayhem must be hunted down and brought to book.
“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 to Enugu, where he had rented an apartment, and lived with other people in the neighbourhood, and from there, they were already planning another attack on Omoku.”
He said the agencies then collaborated with the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division in Enugu, and were able to raid his hideout.
“In the process, Don Waney tried to escape but 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 the January 1 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,” the GOC said.
The Rivers State Police Commissioner, Ahmed Zaki, also said the success recorded by the agencies was as a result of collaboration.
“The security agencies here were working hand-in-hand and you can see the outcome of the synergy. The perpetrators have been gunned down after an exchange of gunfire.
“The security agencies are working round the clock to ensure that people live in peace and go about their lawful businesses without molestation. I can assure you we will not rest until we get all the criminals arrested and brought to book.
“I want everyone 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 arrested. We have the profile of these criminals and I can assure you that we are taking the battle to their hideouts. We know where most of them are hiding. We will arrest and prosecute them,” he said.
Earlier, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by the army spokesman, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, the army had said that it had in conjunction with the DSS tracked the suspects to their hideout in an Enugu neighbourhood where they were gunned down in their bid to escape.
He said: “Perhaps not satisfied with the numerous lives of innocent citizens he had taken previously, Don Waney masterminded the despicable New Year day mayhem in Omoku in which he led his notorious gang of criminals to murder 22 peace-loving citizens of Omoku when they were returning from the crossover service at about 1.30 a.m. 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 (sic) another mayhem on Omoku in which he was to attack churches, schools, army and police locations and the residences of the generality of the already traumatised people of Omoku.”
He said following his successful geo-location to his new Enugu neighbourhood hideout by the DSS Rivers State Command, a combined team of troops of the 82 Division Nigerian Army, Enugu, and personnel of DSS Rivers State Command, raided the hideout to arrest him and his other accomplices.
“On sensing that the combined 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 two, who sustained gunshot wounds, died while being evacuated for medical attention,” he said.
While condoling with the families of victims of the gang lords, Iliyasu appealed to members of the public to always assist the security agencies with useful information “to track down and arrest the remaining gang members so as to bring them to justice”.