The Enugu State Police Command on Tuesday said it had raided criminals' hideouts and made random arrests in its investigations of the murder of Kwara State police commissioner, Mr. Chinweike Asadu, last Saturday.
The Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tonye Ebitibituwa, who announced the arrests declined giving the number and identity of those arrested. The PUNCH however learnt from residents of Nike in the Enugu metropolis, where the late police boss was gunned down, that over 500 youths of the area had been picked. A resident of the area, who refused to give his name for fear of police harassment, said, "All the youths in this area have been arrested and detained in many police stations in the state. Over 500 persons have been arrested in this area."
When asked to give his name, the source said, "Ah, I can't tell you my name. Even if you know my name don't publish it because I don't want police trouble." Other residents who also pleaded anonymity corroborated the account of their neighbour. The development coincided with a resolution by the House of Representatives condemning the killing of Asadu and asking President Goodluck Jonathan to "redouble his efforts as the Chief Security Officer of this nation to ensure that all his security chiefs are on top of their schedules."
Ebitibituwa said the police would not relent in their efforts until Asadu's killers werenabbed. Ebitibituwa spoke while briefing journalists in Enugu on the efforts being made by the police and other security agencies to track down Asadu's killers. He said, "I want to formally inform members of the press on the death of my colleague, classmate and good friend who was on transit to Port Harcourt.
"He met his untimely death very close to his house; we have been battling to make sure that we bring to book those involved in this dastardly act. "This is a case that all of us did not expect when it happened. The suddenness of this case has given us cause to re-strategise and see that crime of such nature does not occur again. "We have made arrests and we are still investigating. We will not reveal the identity of the persons we have arrested; we will also not reveal the number." The police commissioner added, "As I said earlier, we are still interrogating them.
They were random arrests in criminal hideouts. Through the process of this investigation we can get a clue from them and we would take it up from there." He also stated that it was too early to make conclusions on the reasons behind the killing. "I told you that we are still investigating this case, it will be too early to term it robbery, assassination or kidnap," he noted.
In a related development, the CP also confirmed that a policeman, Corporal Amos Marcus, was killed along Rangers Avenue in Enugu by gunmen last week Monday. The PUNCH learnt that the late Marcus was an orderly attached to a personality whose identity was being kept secret by the police. However, the House resolution, which followed a motion sponsored by a lawmaker from Kwara State, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to ensure that the suspects were apprehended.
The motion tagged, "Need to unravel high profile killings in Nigeria," noted that since the killing of the late Dele Giwa in 1986 to date, many high profile killings in the country had remained unresolved. "These range from Hajiya Saadatu Rimi in 2006, Olufunsho Anthony Williams in Lagos, Marshall Harry in 2003 to the late Chief Bola Ige in 2001, among others", the motion observed. The House called on the IGP to "ensure that the killing of the CP does not go the way of the previous unresolved murders and assassinations."
As part of measures to contain criminal elements, the House also resolved that the "installation of CCTV cameras be encouraged in all state capitals and all public places" in the country. The House complained of deteriorating security situation across the nation and urged security agencies to redouble their crime fighting efforts.