03 january 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI – AN improvised explosive device allegedly planted by a group of terrorists at Ogbe-Ijoh, headquarters of Warri Southwest local government area, Delta State, with intent to cause disorder in the state, was uncovered in the early hours of Tuesday by the police.
It was gathered that acting on intelligence information, the police got to the area before the device could be detonated and the anti-bomb squad of the Nigeria police were immediately drafted to safely detonate the device.
Some residents woke to see policemen in large numbers in the community and heard the story that an explosive was planted in the town and there was pandemonium.
Delta state police spokesman, Mr. Charles Muka, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, confirmed when contacted that a suspected undetonated explosive device was discovered in Ogbe-Ijoh by the police.
He said it was true that anti-bomb unit of the police had been directed to detonate the device, adding that security had been beefed up in the area.
His words, “Overall security surveillance and patrols are at red alert in the area”.
One of the residents who spoke on the condition of anonymity said his suspicion was that some ex-militants and cultists might have been recruited by some persons to cause mayhem in the state.
A group of ex-militants and cultists regrouped, last month, in Warri,, Effurun, Ughelli and environs to cause mayhem in the state, sending fear and causing panic among the citizenry.
Some of them were moving about Warri in camouflage army uniform and had the effrontery, last weekend, to open fire on policemen after killing three persons, including a couple, at Ogbe- Ijoh market, penultimate week.
The police returned fire for fire in that encounter, forcing the bandits to retreat. However, a policeman was injured in the battle.
The hoodlums were said to have been recruited by some disenchanted politicians, one of them a former political officer holder, who was dropped by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan from his cabinet, last year, for irreconcilable differences.
A security report obtained by this reporter hinted that the plot to make Warri, Effurun, Ughelli and other cities ungovernable for Governor Uduaghan is tagged, “Mandate Thief Operations” and that for the past one month, “A coalition of various cult group leaders and some disgruntled elements have been converging in Warri, using the death of the former governorship candidate of the Citizens Popular Party, CPP, Chief Ogbe Onokpite as a camouflage”.
A text message which was circulated to some Deltans, last month, reads: “They are to hit various sensitive spots and blame the security agencies and the government, especially the police. This is to put pressure on the police headquarters to make changes that will be in their favour”.
Activist denies plot
A human rights activist and solicitor, Oghenejabor Ikimi, who was linked to the plot has denied his involvement.
Addressing newsmen in Warri, he said, “My attention has been drawn to the contents of a false SMS message being circulated by some faceless and idle persons in various GSM networks as follows”
“Security 2: Prior to the killing of Ogbe, the 3 operators of the operation “MANDATE THIEF” were (names withheld). They met in several hotels but used Beeland Hotel, Udu as operational base. After Ogbe’s death, Gibson & Napoleon meet regularly in Tegatin Hotel. One of such meetings was chaired by Barr. Oghenejabor Ikimi on Wed, 7th Dec, at night. The operation is to make Delta State ungovernable. The structure of the operation will follow soon”.