A middle-aged woman accused of being the leader of a car theft syndicate in the Federal Capital Territory, Uju Ibeh, has been arrested by the police in Abuja.
Parading the suspect before journalists in Abuja, the Force spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said her arrest followed investigation into the theft of a Toyota Matrix on July 17, 2011.
The car was snatched from the owner at gun point at about 11pm around Garki District and was reported to the police. Information provided by the victim, Mr Moshood said, led the police to the gang’s hideout. He said the hoodlums, on sighting the officers, opened fire on the patrol team leading to an exchange of gun fire between the gang and the police. He explained that two suspects, Chiweke Ugwu and Ushie Kenechukwu sustained multiple gunshot injuries and died on the way to the hospital. The investigation of the suspects led to the arrest of Ms Ibeh, who was found to be leader of the gang, he said.
“Investigation revealed that Uju Ibeh is the leader of the gang. She brought the gang together, directs their operations and always escorts the snatched vehicles to criminal receivers in several northern states and the Niger Republic,” the police boss said. “Two anti-car tracking devices were recovered from her. Three English Beretta guns with 74 rounds of ammunition were also recovered from the suspects during the raid.” The female suspect, Mr Moshood said, led the police to one of the receivers of the stolen vehicles, Mohammed Bello whom he said confessed to the crime. He said further investigation was ongoing to recover other stolen vehicles, including the Toyota Matrix.
While speaking with NEXT, the suspect confessed to the crime. She, however insisted that the guns and ammunition were not recovered from her. She claimed she did not know the cars were stolen, but agreed that she was arrested with the Anti Car Tracking devices which she said were used to take the cars to the buyers.
The police also announced the recovery of 21 cars from another gang of criminals. The recovery followed the arrest of Peter Emeh, alias Mustapha, while trying to steal a vehicle from where it was parked at FHA Estate in Nyanya.
“Police team on patrol promptly arrested him and in his possession, one Nigeria Army identity card, two Nigeria Army camouflage jungle hats, three master keys and a vehicle plate number bearing Abuja DZ 559 ABC were recovered,” Mr Moshood said. “Discreet investigation was conducted, which led to the arrest of three other suspects, Hassan Abdullahi, and Usman Bello in Kaduna, as well as Sabiu Zangina, in Kano. Twenty one vehicles were recovered from the gang in their hide-outs in Kaduna, Kano and Plateau States.”