On the first day in the year 2021, the Imo State police command confirmed the arrest of a few individuals linked to the kidnap of the Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese, Moses Chikwe. The Imo state Public Relation Officer (PRO) confirmed this statement to journalists in Owerri.
He stated among the other victims rescued were Bishop Chikwe’s driver and a 33 year old woman Chioma Stephanie Ekwedike, who was kidnapped in front of her residence at Imo Housing Estate Umuguma, Owerri West Local Government. Going further, the police stated that the Bishop and others were rescued from a thick forest, between Awara in Ohaji/Egbema local government area of Imo state and Omuku creeks in Rivers state, led by the anti-kidnapping unit. They also noted that some of the kidnappers escaped while trying to rescue the victims and the police command have increased their efforts to arrest them.
The police reported “The Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Bishop Moses Chikwe has been rescued unhurt as a result of a sting operation embarked upon by the tactical squad of the Command led by the Anti-Kidnapping Unit.
In response to the kidnap of the Bishop, his driver and Chioma, “The Head and Officer in Charge of the state Police Command, newly promoted AIG ISSAC O. AKINMOYEDE, activated all the tactical Team In the Command and charged them to rescue the Bishop and others and arrest the hoodlums responsible for the act.
“Acting on the said directive, a combined unit of all the tactical teams on the 31st of December 2020 stormed Awara Ohaji/Egbema LGA and Omuku creeks. Few persons positively linked to the crime/criminals were arrested and some incriminating items recovered.
“ The arrest of the suspects and other coordinated operations by the Command led to the kidnappers abandoning the victims, leading to the rescue of the Bishop and two other victims unhurt and without payment of any ransom. Efforts are ongoing toarrest the fleeing members of the notorious kidnapping syndicate.”
Furthermore, the Imo Police warned that “It is noteworthy to mention that an online media platform last week came up with the news of the death of the Bishop. In the report, it was claimed that the Auxiliary Bishop was beheaded and his head and decapitated body recovered somewhere in Anambra State. The command therefore wishes to warn against speculative and junk reportings especially in social media as such is capable of causing breach of peace.
“The Police Command also wishes to commend the public and the Christian community for the calmness during the period of this travail and the confidence reposed in the Nigerian Police to resolve the crime. We however, wish to assure everyone that the command remains capable of protecting all law abiding citizens of the state.
“Members of the public are reminded that all incidents within their area must be promptly reported to the police especially incidents of grievous nature or heinous crimes. The Command also calls for information from the members of the public concerning crime and criminalities in their areas to enable the police take prompt and decisive actions.”