How Army, Airforce, Civil Defense killed 2Baba, the Rivers cult gang leader, after a 5-month operation

David Gift Opara alias 2Baba

David Gift Opara alias 2Baba

*Had N101million bounty on his head by State Government, Police

*2Baba made boastful calls on live radio programmes from hideouts while on the run.

*Over 70 suspects arrested, including, traditional rulers yet elusive.

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt 

Not much was known about him before SP Bako Angbashim ( Divisional Police Officer for Ahoada in Rivers State was brutally murdered on September 8, 2023, and his body butchered, accompanied by a viral video made out of it. He is David Gift Opara (Alias 2Baba) who became the most wanted and notorious Iceland Cult kingpin.

His name was thrown into the consciousness of both local and international communities as the most wanted criminal with a bounty of N100 million placed on him by the Rivers State government, while the Rivers State Police command added N1 million, making it a total of the sum of N101 million.

SP Bako Angbashim who was murdered was redeployed from Bori Divisional Police Station in Khana local government area in Ogoniland to Ahoada Division primarily to fish out 2Baba either dead or alive. The new tour of duty for SP Bako Angbashim was announced during a major shakeup of officers of the Police Command by the administration of the immediate past Commissioner of Police, CP Nwonyi Emeka because the late gallant Officer was deemed the most competent and tactical enough to capture 2Baba dead or alive. This was not to be as 2Baba and his gang who might have been tipped off by their network of informants lured him into their hideout and murdered him. The manner the gallant officer (who barely wore shoes while on operation), shocked the entire command and the admirers of the late DPO.

CP Tunji Rilwan Disu Commissioner of Police Rivers State

The Police high command vowed that no matter what it took, 2Baba, his gang and even his sponsors(if any) must be brought to justice.

So, a manhunt was launched. For the past five months, the Police command in synergy with the Nigerian Army, Airforce, and the Nigerian Civil Defense Corps(NCDC) in several joint operations continued hunting for him and his gang but the efforts did not yield immediate results. This is because 2baba and his gang were always ahead of the security personnel through the help of his network of informants. Before closeup operations were marked to attack him at his hideouts, he kept withdrawing into the forests exploiting difficult terrain and mangroves.

The mangrove terrain became very difficult and inaccessible by the Police operatives during joint operations. They had to use canoes to meander to gain access to the mangrove forests where he erected temporary makeshift hideouts.

Unknown to residents of Rivers State, it was as if the security agents were helpless in trailing and tracking 2Baba down because they expected that within a few weeks of the launch of the manhunt for him, he would have been arrested, but the expectations were up in smoke.

The suspect,  2Baba, even made matters worse by regularly calling in on popular radio stations exhibiting his bravado as if he was invincible. And of course, his lieutenants who were arrested in the course of many raids on his several hideouts testified that he believed in the efficacy of charms and talismans. A  herbalist alleged to be his major charmer was arrested in Ahoada. The suspect confessed to the Police that he is a priest of an ancient deity in Ogoniland, but had been residing in Ahoada for over 20 years as a herbalist and 2Baba was one of his major clients.

During some of his calls on live radio programmes, the wanted cult kingpin made a lot of allegations against the Police claiming “innocence” of all the crimes levelled against him. He claimed that he was not the only “General ” Or “Cult kingpin ” in Ahoada East and Ahoada West local government areas and of course, he could not have murdered SP Bako Angbashim. He said he was a “freedom fighter” and businessman. He also claimed that those crimes he was accused of might have been committed by other gang leaders, but the state decided to slam them on him. When asked if he felt he was innocent, and why he did not surrender to the police and state his side of the story. He bluntly vowed that he would never surrender to the police but fight to the end.

However, as the days went by, residents of the state became apprehensive because there were reports that he had been going to communities eliminating people that he felt were police informants. Among those he killed were “Charles Osu” Ogbobula Eja, Idaowkwa Felix, Paul Victor, and Achinivu Saturday Edi.

It will be recalled that the police had arrested 70 suspects while the investigation was on. Some of those arrested were Traditional rulers.

2Baba lifeless body displayed by the Rivers Police Command at the Police Command headquarters, Moscow road, Port Harcourt on Friday February 23.

Governor Siminalayi Fubara had to suspend His Royal Highness, King Cassidy Ikegbidi. The Governor said he was suspended because he allowed 2Baba to carve his territory in his kingdom without reporting to security agencies. King Cassidy Ikegbidi alongside other suspects were charged to the State High Court for criminal conspiracy and murder but was later granted bail on health grounds.

A few days ago, the Commissioner of Police Rivers State, CP Tunji Disu, who briefed the press through DCP Olugbenga Adepoju displayed four Perkins 20KVA Transformers, which was seized by 2Baba from a company. He demanded N5 million ransom for each of the transformers. At the briefing, CP Disu gave a hint that the security agencies were already closing in on 2Baba.

The Police later announced that 2BABA had been killed by Security Agencies on the 19th of February after aerial bombardments with the help of the Nigerian Air Force but his corpse was not recovered.

According to SP Grace Iringe-Koko, Spokesperson of the Police Command, “On the 19th of February 2024 at 04:00hrs, operatives raided 2Baba’s new camp. Despite a fierce gun battle, 2Baba and his gang members escaped. However, at around 14:00hrs, intelligence confirmed 2Baba’s death after he lost consciousness and resuscitation attempts failed”.

SP Koko who chronicled the detailed efforts by the Command and joint operations of security agencies to apprehend him and his gang assured that efforts were in progress to retrieve the body of the infamous killer, while investigations into the Iceland cult’s activities in the area continued.

SP Bako Angbashim the Divisional Police Officer of Ahoada murdered, dismembered and made a viral video of his remains by 2Baba and his gang.

Even though a cross-section of residents applauded the police for killing 2Baba, there were doubts that the police might not have killed him because they were not able to display his corpse.

To the surprise of the people of Rivers State, the police announced on the 23rd of February 2024 that the corpse of 2Baba had been recovered.

“Commissioner of Police CP Olatunji Disu in a press briefing at the Police headquarters, Moscow road, Port Harcourt, said the dead body of 2Baba was located and exhumed on Friday morning in a shallow grave at Ebrass forest at Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The CP expressed thanks to Nigeria Airforce, Inspector General of Police, IGP Egbetokun, Intelligence Response Team Abuja and tactical teams in Rivers State for their assistance.

CP Disu said: “The Airforce assisted us to soften the ground with their airstrikes. We thank the Governor of Rivers State for his support throughout the manhunt for 2Baba.

“The public must continue to provide information. We will continue to mount pressure to dislodge other members of 2Baba’s gang”.

The Ahoada East Local Government Chairman, Mr Ben Eke, commended the Police, Inspector General of Police for the achievement.

He said: “I must say the Police have done so well for the killing. Four months is a reasonable time to bring down the man who killed SP Bako Angbashim.

“To the best of my knowledge, the dead body is that of 2Baba”,

“My people are happy, business can now thrive in the area”.Ben Eke confirms.

Our Correspondent reports that for those who knew the notorious Iceland Cult kingpin, the Scorpion tattoo on his left arm, chest and gab teeth made it easy to identify him which remarkably matched with the lifeless body.

There were jubilations in Communities in the two local government areas, which make up the Ekpeye ethnic nationality with the news of the recovery and his lifeless body paraded by the Police on Friday, February 23.

At last, the five-month hunt for and the liquidation of the terror Master and gangster, David Gift Opara, alias 2Baba finally yielded bountiful results and the Rivers State is happier for it. This is just as the Police assured that the manhunt for his gang members and cult groups is on.