*Killed the DCO for removing the mask of one of them in the forest during his abduction.
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Three suspects have been arrested in Rivers over alleged abduction and murder of SP Moses Egbede, the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) of Afam Police Division in Oyigbo Local Government of the State.
The suspects – Philemon Barrifa, Okechukwu Emmanuel and Barrisitom Gbara- were arrested by operatives of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) and Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police in coordinated the operation, according to a statement signed by Rivers Police Command spokesperson, SP Nnamdi Omoni, on Saturday.
Egbede was reportedly beaten to death by the gang with his corpse thrown into a well in a bush at Paya/Agbeta community in Eleme Local Government Area despite the fact that his family paid a ransom for his release.
It was gathered that Egbede was abducted on July 21, 2020, but after the collection of ransom from his family on 30th July, the kidnappers reportedly refused to take calls from his family and thereafter switched off the ransom negotiation phone.
This prompted the family members to approach the FIB and IRT to assist in the investigation.
The spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command in a statement said operatives of the FIB and Team IRT on August 5th commenced an investigation and with the aid of technical support from TIU Abuja, the perpetrators were identified, which led to the arrest of three of the gang members who allegedly confessed to have kidnapped and killed SP Egbede.
According to the statement, one of the suspects, Philemon Barrifa, a 23-year-old male from Bomu town in Gokana Local Government Area, but resident in Agbeta camp in Ebubu town Eleme, confessed that the officer was beaten to death after the collection of ransom, because he struggled with them and pulled down the face mask of two of their gang members during his abduction.
Barrifa reportedly confessed that kidnapping of the police officer was planned in his house and executed by him and other gang members.
He was said to have gotten the sum of N120,000 as a share of the ransom collected.
Another suspect, Okechukwu Emmanuel aka Bike boy, a 32-year-old from Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia state also reportedly confessed be in charge of monitoring the movement of security agents during the gang operations. He was said to have received N100,000 from the DCO’s ransom.
The third suspect, Barrisitom Gbara, a 33-year-old from Gokana but resident in Agbeta camp in Ebubu town Eleme was said to have provided the live cartridges used for the kidnapping of the police officer to the gang members through Philemon Barrifa.
The Police, in the statement, said the suspects are cooperating with the operatives to track down other members of the gang now at large especially the gang leader who allegedly brought the two AK47s used for the abduction.