One chance syndicate terrorising Rivers in police net

Operatives of the Rivers State Police Command have arrested four suspects including a lady operating a one-chance syndicate in Port Harcourt and its environs.

According to the Command, the gang posed as passengers in commercial vehicles at flyovers only to bring out their guns while in motion to either rob or kidnap unsuspecting members of the public.

Grace Iringe-Koko, the spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command, disclosed this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Monday.

While noting that their targets are mostly women, Iringe-Koko disclosed that the syndicate also beat up their victims, adding that they extorted the sum of N1.8 million from one of the victims.

Iringe-Koko said: “The gang, consisting of four individuals, operates under the guise of passengers in a taxi, targeting victims on flyovers.

“The modus operandi involves brandishing weapons such as a locally made pistol and daggers to intimidate victims before robbing them of their possessions.

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“The gang’s criminal activities commenced in October 2023 when their leader, Smart Obele (currently at large), initiated the one-chance scheme with Michael Gershon, a native of Ikolinem-Ikot-Okon in Esemudim Local Government Area. Michael, aged 27, agreed to use his vehicle for these operations after a meeting over beer bottles, where the details were discussed.

“Nsikak Ibanga, aged 26, was introduced by Michael, having arrived in Port Harcourt from Akwa-Ibom State. Nsikak, described as a ‘fearless operator,’ joined the gang alongside Peace Paul, aged 22, who was informed by Michael that he would be sending her money frequently for withdrawal.

“The gang strategized their operations, targeting women exclusively and executing their plans on a weekly basis starting at 9 pm.

“Their criminal activities were fueled by violence, with victims being severely beaten and robbed. Notably, they managed to extort 1.8 million Naira from one victim using ATM cards and a POS machine.”

Continuing, Iringe-Koko added: “The apprehension of three suspects, Michael, Nsikak, and Peace, has resulted in confessions and cooperation with authorities to capture the remaining members of the gang. The Police have recovered the operational vehicle, an ash-coloured Mazda 323, and are commended for their use of technology in crime prevention.”

The state police image maker further said the Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, urges residents to report suspicious activities promptly, emphasising the commitment of the police commitment to ensuring public safety and combating criminal elements in the state.

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