Harcourt, Rivers State, on Sunday, as the state police command confirmed the arrest of 320 Boko Haram suspects.
Though details were still sketchy as of the time of filing this report, Nigerian Tribune gathered that the suspects were arrested from a convoy of 17 commuter buses, all coming from Jigawa State.
However, sources at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) confirmed that the arrest was made after a tip-off.
According to the sources, the suspects, arrested in the convoy led by one Bala Marto Danbam, were all travelling in buses belonging to a transportation company owned by a former Inspector General of Police.
“The arrest started from about 1.00 a.m till about 7.00 a.m at different points; some were arrested as they were entering the state boundary, while others were arrested from places like Mile One and other parts of Port Harcourt.
“Three hundred and twenty of them, men and women, were arrested and the manner of the travelling was deemed suspicious; so many people in those buses and at that time of the day was suspicious,” the source said.
When reached for comments, the state Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, confirmed the development, adding that the state command would not comment on the matter yet for security reason.
“It’s a top security issue. I don’t know how you got the information and I won’t ask you, but there cannot be any comment now from the Rivers police command until we finish the investigation. I will make no comment,” Mbu said.
It could not be confirmed if arms or other incriminating objects had been discovered with the suspects, but they, alongside the buses that conveyed them, were inside the premises of the police department.
Nigerian Tribune observed that security had been tightened around the SCID on Sunday evening, as movements into and around the area were under close watch.
Journalists who tried to access the premises were strictly barred by policemen on guard.
It was also observed that the areas close to the SCID premises were thronged by people believed to be friends and kinsmen of the arrested suspects.
Meanwhile, the Northern States’ Governors Forum has charged security agencies to end the killing of defenseless citizens, especially in the North-East region, where suspected Boko Haram members have continued their bloody campaign since 2009.
Chairman of the forum and Niger State governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu, in Minna, on Sunday, noted that members of the forum were concerned at the renewed attacks, which had killed 18 persons around Maiduguri.
“The forum is particularly alarmed that the shooting to death of 18 persons in Njaba, Mude, Kwaljiri and Kaya villages in Borno followed the same pattern, as previous midnight attacks on towns and villages in the region,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, Aliyu described the fresh attacks as “horrendous, callous and inhuman.”
He also called on security agencies to halt the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the region.
Written by Bolaji Ogundele -Port Harcourt