Men of the Nigeria Police Force, Akwa Ibom State Command in its fight against criminality has arrested an armed robbery gang, which had gained notoriety for terrorizing banks in Uyo and other parts of Akwa Ibom State.
The gang leader, Mr Hycent Loveday Bright, with his men; Menford Austine John and John Usam Chibueze, were apprehended following a distress call about a robbery in progress at Food Affairs, opposite First Bank, Eket.
Briefing newsmen in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, Tuesday, the Commissioner of Police, CP Zubairu Muazu, said the robbers trailed their victim, one Nkereuwem Bassey Akpan, who withdrew the sum of N1 million cash from First Bank Eket, blocked him and disposed him of the said amount.
“It will interest you to know that we have finally arrested the notorious gang responsible for series of bank-related robberies in the state. Our team at Eket received a distress call of a robbery in progress at Food Affairs, opposite First Bank, Eket. One Nkereuwem Bassey Akpan withdrew the sum of One Million Naira (N1m) cash from First Bank, Eket and was trailed and blocked by the suspects and robbed of the said amount withdrawn”.
“Items recovered from them include: One Toyota Avalon with registration No. NCH 28 ST with the ignition key; the sum of N521,300 in cash; One Techno phone; different ATM cards, etc. The ring leader, Hycent Love day Bright, is based in Eket, while the other members always come in from Rivers State,” he said
The CP said the command has within the last one month apprehended 15 kidnappers and 20 cultists from Ukanafun, Onna and Etim Ekpo Local Government Areas of the state.
The feat, according to Muazu, was possible due to the command’s intensified efforts in crime-bursting which led to the identification of flashpoints in the said areas. This, he said, was reason the Operation Base of the Special Anti-kidnapping and Anti-cultism Units of the command were relocated to Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo areas.
His words: “A total of 104 suspects were arrested for various offences across the state, ranging from cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery, child stealing/selling and other crimes. Most of the suspects have been charged to court while others are other investigation.
“Items recovered from the various operations include; two AK47 riffle with three magazines and eighteen rounds of live ammunition, one assault riffle, two pump action, one Berretta pistol and one single barrel gun with 12 live cartridges, one Toyota Avalon Car, one jeep, one Toyota corolla and one Toyota Camry, a cash sum of N2,870,000 and four locally made pistols.”
He said the command has established more platforms where the police and members of the public can interface regularly to encourage large inflow of information, as public trust and confidence in the state police command has improved tremendously.
He pledged to intensify efforts in community policing, people oriented policing, problem solving policing, visibility policing, intensive stop and search, foot patrol and of course, the ‘Operation Purge’ earlier lunched at Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo, especially as the local government election approaches.
The CP used the occasion to announce that the Inspector General of Police has given an approval for additional 8,000 policemen from neighboring States to boost the available manpower in the state to ensure effective policing during the December 2 local government election.
Leader of the notorious bank robbery gang, Hycent Loveday Bright, who spoke with Journalists admitted to the crime and claimed he was caught at his third operation.
The Onne, Rivers-born, 31-year-old father of three, who confessed to have been into oil pipeline vandalism as at 2013, said he succeeded in identifying bank customers with heavy cash by pretending to be carrying out transaction while observing others.
Bright, who said he had been able to use the money realized from crime to establish a boutique business along Afaha Uqua road, Eket, however pleaded for a second chance as he was led into crime by the devil.