9 men who intercept containers in the name of the presidency, have been arrested

End of the road for 9 alleged impersonators, hijackers.

Police arrest syndicate who pose as presidential taskforce members (Vanguard)

Pulse Nigeria

Nine members of a syndicate that specializes in hijacking containers, while posing as members of the Presidential Policing Marshal, have been nabbed.

Chijoke Okoro, Chijoke Joseph, Gideon Ijachi, Daniel Abraham, Naija Eket, Stanley Akparakwu, Austin Dosu, Solomon Emeka and Benjamin Steve, were arrested by detectives from Area B, Lagos State Police Command, following a tip off from importers who had been some of the syndicate's victims.

The suspects, who claimed that they were acting on the orders of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj Gen. Babagana Monguno, had on numerous occasions used fake documents from the presidency to intercept containers in transit, the police say.

It was learnt that the gang who operate using a Toyota Hilux van with registration number KRD 990 AP and with the inscription: "Presidential Policing Marshal, IMAN special taskforce", would trail container-laden trucks exiting the Lagos port complex, to a lonely spot.

The gang led by Chijoke Okoro, would then hop aboard the truck, while claiming that they were acting on orders from the office of the NSA who had deployed them to monitor and intercept the movement of the container.

Thereafter, they would order the truck driver to take them to an unknown destination; where the driver and his conductor would be pushed off the truck before the syndicate zooms off with the container.

Police say the gang had allegedly hijacked truckloads of goods worth several billions of naira before they were arrested.

It is unclear if the matter has made it to a courtroom at the time of reporting, but the office of the NSA has since debunked claims of its involvement.

Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, who paraded the suspects at the command headquarters, Ikeja, said the case is purely one of impersonation, stealing and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.

Odumosu said the matter was initially reported at Area ’B’ Command Headquarters, but that it was subsequently transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Yaba, for discreet investigation.

While reeling out details of the case, Odumosu said that on February 1, 2021 at about 11am, the suspects were arrested for hijacking and diverting two container-load of goods.

He said the suspects claimed that they received the instruction to confiscate the two containers from the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

"Meanwhile, the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has debunked the claims, stressing that they didn’t know the suspects nor had any relationship with them.

"Two containers and one branded Toyota Hilux with Reg. No KRD 990 AP and inscription of “PRESIDENTIAL POLICING MARSHALS, IMAN SPECIAL TASKFORCE’’ were recovered from the suspects," he said.

Meanwhile, the Policing Nigeria Awareness Initiative (PNAI) has said that Chijioke is not a member of the group and was not assigned to carry out the said operation.

The Founder and Chairman, Governing Council of PNAI, Ambassador Egbe Akparakwu Adun disclosed this in an interview.

He said the major tasks of his group are national security awareness programmes and the anti-corruption campaign against multiple taxation, non-remittance of revenues, oil and gas theft monitoring.

"PNAI did not at any time appoint or authorise Chijioke Okoro to collect money from importers in Lagos or any other place at all,” he said.

The leadership of the Importers Association of Nigeria, IMAN, also distanced itself from the activities of Chijioke.

The National Coordinator of the association, Chief Obi Michael Ekwego, said Chijioke was not acting on behalf of the association.


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