By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
Hell was let loose, last week, after news of the escape of six suspected criminals whom police alleged were assassins engaged by Dino Melaye, a serving senator from Kogi West Senatorial district, filtered out. The police said two of the six suspects confessed to being armed and financed by Melaye.
Tension at police base
In fact, there was tension and palpable fear both at the Louis Edet House, Force Headquarters, Abuja and the police formations in Kogi State.
The suspects, Kabiru Seidu (a.k.a Osama), 31; Nuhu Salisu (a.k.a Small), 25; Aliyu Isa; Adams Suleiman; Emmanuel Audu and Musa Mohammed who were under detention at the ‘A’ Division Lokoja allegedly escaped from lawful custody hours before they were due to be arraigned in court in Lokoja, the state capital.
Police sources said a visibly rattled Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris did not waste a moment in directing the immediate re-deployment of the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ali Janga over what he said was negligence of duty and carelessness. To replace him, he quickly summoned the Commissioner of Police in charge of Federal Operations at the Force Headquarters, Esa Sunday Ogbu to move over to Kogi and restore normalcy. He also reportedly gave him matching orders to use all the arsenals at his disposal to re-arrest the fleeing suspects.
Operation dead or alive
Not done with that, the police boss reportedly gathered all his men in charge of strategic and tactical units at the Force Headquarters, Abuja and directed them to swing into action and round up the fleeing criminals. In the same vein, a red alert was raised in all the units involved in operations especially, in the northern part of the country, with stern directives to arrest the suspects dead or alive.
Close watch on senator
Crime Alert gathered reliably that the drama surrounding their mysterious escape was such that police authorities also kept close watch on the embattled Senator Melaye with a view to ascertaining if he played any role in their escape. This was as they also clamped down on officers remotely or otherwise connected with the case in Kogi State including the re-deployed Commissioner of Police. A special team of crack detectives personally selected by the Inspector-General of Police were directed to interrogate all the officers involved in the saga which embarrassed the force.
Initially, there were fetish undertones to the whole melodrama which rented the air in and around Kogi State. While some people avered that the suspects may have escaped as a result of the potency of concoctions prepared by their native doctor, others held the view that Senator Melaye may have masterminded their escape with a view to rendering police accusations ineffective. However, police sources said that a close examination of the cell at A division in Lokoja where the suspects were kept revealed that they escaped through a back window after cleverly removing the blocks and iron rods used in securing it.
Reports said they were able to perfect the escape around 3am penultimate Tuesday unnoticed because of the nature of the area which they said is very large with barracks in the same compound. However, that will not definitely preclude thorough investigation of the role (s) played by police operatives on duty on the day of their escape.
Re-arrest and parade
Luckily, detectives have been able to re-arrest all the six suspects including prominently, the two that implicated Senator Melaye by giving vivid details of how they met him and what he told them to do. Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood who was beaming with happiness while parading the arrested suspects said they were arrested at different locations in Kogi and other surrounding states in the North.
He particularly, mentioned that the principal suspects Kabiru Saidu,the leader of the gang from Dekina LGA but based in Anyangba, was re-arrested in Tafa Balewa Local Government Area in Bauchi State while Nuhu Salisu was re-arrested in Gana village, Lokoja, Kogi State.
At present, all eyes are on police authorities to make open the result of their investigation into the role played by their operatives in the escape of the suspects. Most importantly, the authorities have not been able to disclose what they have done to forestall future occurrence of such a scandalous escape and the measures taken to fortify the place.