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How Officer Turned Evangelist, Others Died Fighting Robbers
The robbery incident that put the Delta State Police Command on its toes on May 14, 2012 has left memories that cannot easily be forgotten.
That is the day the Command aptly described in its history as a dark day, having lost six of its men to dare devil bandits.
At Igbodo, a sleepy community on the Benin-Agbor-Asaba express way, the rampaging bandits killed the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Abraka, SP Steve Chigbue, crime buster ASP John Danladi from Ogwashi-Uku division and others in a fierce gun duel after taking over the high way for more than one hour.
Shortly after the onslaught, the gang moved to Ibusa, near Asaba and attacked two commercial banks. The community was turned into a theatre of war as superior guns from the criminals were used, leaving behind a number of casualties while the bandits carted away millions of naira from the two banks.
Numbering over 30, the robbers were armed to the teeth with such weapons like rocket launcher, rocket propelled grenade and several purpose and assault rifles, magazines and AK47 rifles. Following the heavy bombardment, no doubt, the command had to roll out its “Beast” to deal with the situation.
While the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba and some of his officers were away to Warri to receive the First Lady of the Federation, Dame Patience Jonathan, who was on a visit to the state, the robbers perfected their plan to strike. Kingpins of the group claimed they came from Rivers State. They admitted they were militants.
How the police officers died
On that fateful day, at about 10:30a.m, a crack team of detectives from Ogwashi-Uku division trailed the band of robbers cum kidnappers to their hideout in Igbodo. On getting to the dual carriage way in Igbodo, heavy gun duel ensued between the detectives and the marauding dare devil robbers.
For over an hour, the expressway was deserted as motorists had to park their vehicles. The sounding of gunshots rented the air, sending jitters down the spines of travellers.
Villagers at Igbodo went into hiding at first, only to re-appear to witness casualties and the blood that flowed on their soil.
Sad enough, the gallant DPO who was on his way to Asaba for an official matter along with three other persons and a female civilian decided to clear the way for other commuters to follow.
Unknown to him that trouble was lurking around, the bandits had laid an ambush and soon after, the team was caught up in a web of gun shots. All the occupants of the official Hilux van were shot dead instantly.
Sad enough, again, the team from Ogwashi-Uku led by John Danladi, a no- nonsense police officer, who dared armed robbers at any time, was attacked and in the ensuing encounter Danladi fell.
However, while the attention of the Police and civilians was at Igbodo, the bad boys had made a detour to Ibusa. However, the Police Command successfully reinforced and mobilised its personnel who displayed exceptional courage and dexterity by confronting the robbers headlong.
In conjunction with the vigilante groups and youths of Ibusa and Ogwashi-Uku, four of the robbers were gunned down, three arrested while others fled with bullet wounds. A clergyman who was coming out of the bank was hit by bullet.
Luck ran out on two of the robbers, who were captured in the process, as an irate mob in Ibusa set them ablaze.
Those arrested and paraded by the police included one Williams Stephen Odili, 35, who claimed to be a native of Aboh, Delta State.
Odili is believed to be on the wanted list of robbers who struck at a bank in Umunede and other places sometime ago. Speaking incoherently, Odili said he was introduced into armed robbery by one Emeka.
Odili was captured in a compound when he attempted to run away as he found himself in a fix, in a situation where the vigilante group in the town barricaded all routes in Ibusa. The others are Sunday Ojade, 26, and Princely Oba, 32.
According to the police boss, efforts are on to arrest the fleeing die-hard gang members.
Items recovered from the robbers include 94 loaded magazines of AK47 rifles, 3 bullet proof vests belonging to security operatives. One rocket launcher, one rocket propelled grenade, five AK47, one 9mm, 2 astava pistol and 11 rounds of live ammunition, and 3,550 rounds of 7.62 ammunitions.
Also recovered were the sum of over N2million, one Toyota Hummer Bus with registration number (Lagos) YB58MUS, 2 HP Laptops, one network PVR and assorted charms.
For show of gallery, CP Aduba gave a personal donation of N500,000 to the crack team that confronted the gang while calling on other communities to emulate the e-spirit de corp of Ibusa and Ogwashi vigilantes.
Pained by what befell the command, the police boss, Aduba, said what happened, “was a poser for all of us. We are repackaging a new security measure to confront them (robbers) as most of them are from outside the state. We are on course.”
At Ogwashi-Uku, the community was in a mourning mood as people gathered in groups while at the police station, the death of Danladi, a gallant police officer, elicited tears among his colleagues.
Danladi had received several awards from institutions including the Police Command for his gallantry and being a factor for the people in Aniocha South in general and Ogwashi-Uku in particular to sleep at night with eyes closed.
Travellers along the different routes in the area had had cause not to worry, on the assurance that Danladi and his team were usually handy.
The police officer was ordained an Evangelist at Tree of Life Church in Ogwashi-Uku just last Sunday.
ASP Danladi, who was in a happy mood on that day, along with his family members, relations from his native home in Kaduna State and other guests said: “I decided today to accept this obligation and make heaven as my total golden last place of eternal rest for the believers.”
Speaking to newsmen after the ordination, Danladi said that he would expand his scope by preaching to criminals to have a change of heart while he would also not rest on his oars in carrying out his official responsibilities.