The police have foiled an attempt by a notorious Niger Delta militant group operating from the creeks of Ikorodu and Arepo on the outskirts of Lagos and Ogun states to blow up the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
A top commander of the group, Abiodun Amos, who is also known as Senti, an Ijaw from Arogbo, Ese-Odo Local Government of Ondo State, who is also said to be the group’s explosive expert, was arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), who trailed him to a river bank at Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos.
Two AK47 rifles hidden in a “Ghana-Must-Go” bag were found with the suspect. He led the IRT operatives to a vehicle parked discreetly within Ikorodu, where a large catche of dynamite and detonators was recovered— from its boot.
It was also learnt that Amos’ arrest followed intelligence generated by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), which was passed on to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, indicating that the group was at its final stage of carrying out an attack on the Third Mainland Bridge—Africa’s longest at 13 kilometres.
The IGP, who was said to have been miffed by the report, directed his operatives at the IRT, led by Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Abba Kyari, to investigate the report. It was confirmed that the group was actually planning to blow up the bridge at the end of November. The group, detectives discovered, had acquired large quantities of dynamite and several other explosives for the attack.
In October 2016, the group, which has no known identity and was notorious for pipeline vandalism, kidnapping and bank robberies, demanded for amnesty, threatening to disrupt the economy within Lagos and Ogun states if the Federal Government did not dialogue with it and grant its members pipeline protection contracts.
The leader of the militant group, known as “General” Ossy Ibori, who coordinated most of the bank robberies and high profile kidnappings, including that of three schoolgirls at Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu, four landlords at Isheri North, Oniba of Ibaland, Oba Goriola Oseni and many others within Lagos and Ogun states, boasted in an interview that his group had over 21 “generals” commanding 7,800 battle-ready boys.
He added that the group was rich enough to fight the Federal Government as it had acquired thousands of military grade arms and ammunition, which he said would be deployed in disrupting the economy within Lagos and Ogun states, should the Federal Government fail to dialogue with the group and grant its wishes.
Sources disclosed that the IRT operatives made several arrests within Ikorodu and other parts of Lagos State. One of the suspects is said to have given the police the information, which they used in trailing and arresting Amos, who was on his way into the creeks.
The 43-year-old suspect confessed that his group was formerly into pipeline vandalism but they resorted to kidnapping when it became difficult for them to vandalise and sell their stolen petroleum products. According to him; “ we went into bank robberies and kidnapping because we wanted to get government attention and all we wanted was for them to grant us amnesty and also offer us pipeline protection contract. We have made several appeals and the government is not listening to us. “General” Ossy said ‘if we don’t blow up the Third Mainland Bridge government’ they would not listen to us. We had concluded plans and we decided to carry out the attack by November ending. I am the group’s explosive expert and before I was arrested we were going into the creek to conclude plans on how to carry out the attack.”
Police spokesman Don Awuna, a deputy Commissioner (DCP) said: “Yes, an individual was arrested. On sighting the policemen, the second suspect jumped out of his car and escaped into the bush, abandoning the operational vehicle.
”On searching the vehicle, two cartons of Gelatine dynamite explosives and hundreds of detonators were recovered in the boot of the car. Efforts are in progress to arrest the remaining gang members”.