AT the height of the escapades of notorious armed robbery kingpin, late Lawrence Nomanyagbon Anini, dreadfully called ‘The Law,’ in the defunct Bendel State, now Edo and Delta states, former military President, General Ibrahim Babaginda, who could no longer stomach his indignation, turned to the erstwhile Inspector General of Police, Etim Inyang, at the end of the out-of-date Armed Forces Ruling Council, AFRC, meeting in October, 1986, and asked, “My friend, where is Anini.”
The question was a huge embarrassment to the then Inspector General of Police, but it was only when it was asked, though very discomforting, that result came. The bandit, who had been “invisible and elusive”, was suddenly tracked down barely one and half months after on December 3, 1986. Inyang had to constitute a crack team under the supervision of very senior police officers to track down the gangster and his band.
Poser from Jonathan to IGP: Under normal circumstances, it is the same question President Goodluck Jonathan should be asking the current Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, concerning the reign of terror that has been unleashed on the people of Delta state by the most wanted kidnapper/armed robbery kingpin in Delta state, Kelvin Ibruvwe. Except if Mr. President, who is currently attending the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York has not been properly appraised of the situation on ground, Kelvin’s impudent exploits have become a cause for concern, not only to the people of the state, but Nigerians in general.
Like Anini, like Kelvin: Like Kelvin, who hails from Kokori, an oil producing community in Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state, the late Anini was also from Orogho, also an oil community in EdoState. While Anini painted the picture of Robinhood in his last days, he did not pretend to be a freedom fighter for his people, who had carried out protests against government and the oil company, operating in their area. Kelvin, however, last Tuesday, declared himself a freedom fighter, saying, he is the leader of newly found Liberation Movement of the Urhobo People, LIMUP. More than 3,000 women and youths cheered him and his band, as he pontificated on the reasons for his “struggle”.
Anini did not anchor his criminality on lack of development in Orogho, but Kelvin, who had issued a 60-day ultimatum to both the State and Federal Governments to develop Kokori or his armed group, would blow up oil installations in the area, maintained, “The reason why we are here today (last Tuesday night) is because of the continuous cheating of our people by the Federal Government. Now, we want them to hear us because for over 50 years, they have been drilling oil from our community (Kokori), which has the second best oil in this country. Yet we have nothing to show for it. The community has no roads; they constructed wooden bridges in areas that need formidable bridges that will last for a long time. There is hunger everywhere and graduates have no job.”
Hidden conspiracy: Before Anini was caught by the then Superintendent of Police, Kayode Uanreroro, and his team at 26, Oyemwosa Street, opposite Iguodala Primary School, Benin City, in company with six women, following a tip-off from locals, it was discovered that police insiders, led by former DSP George Iyamu, were giving him information. Uanreroro led a crack 10-man team to the house, knocked on the door of the room, and Anini himself, clad in underpants, opened the door. “Where is Anini,” the police officer quickly enquired. Dazed as he was caught off guard and having no escape route, Anini all the same tried to be smart. “Oh, Anini is under the bed in the inner room.” As he said it, he made some moves to walk past Uanreroro and his team. In the process, he shoved and head-butted the police officer but it was an exercise in futility.
Uanreroro promptly reached for his gun, stepped hard on Anini’s right toes and shot at his left ankle. Anini surged forward but the policemen took hold of him and put him in a sitting position. They then pumped more bullets into his shot leg and almost severed the ankle from his entire leg. Already, anguished by the excruciating pains, the policemen asked him, “Are you Anini?” And he replied, “My brother, I won’t deceive you; I won’t tell you lie, I’m Anini.”
He was from there taken to the police command headquarters where the state’s Police Commissioner, Parry Osayande, was waiting. While in the police net, Anini who had poor command of English and could only communicate in pidgin, made a whole lot of revelations. He disclosed, for instance that Monday Osunbor, who had been arrested earlier, was his deputy, saying that Osunbor actually shot and wounded the former police boss of the state, Casmir Akagbosu. The issue in Kelvin’s case from a top security source was not really that there is no conspiracy between him and junior officers, both army and police, but the point is how to break it. The locals are also not giving the police information on how to track him down, ostensibly because of fear.
Aduba’s non-belief: However, Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, appears cocksure that there was no plot, and even queried the truthfulness of the Kelvin’s alleged intrusion, submitting that it was unbelievable that the wanted suspect could enter Kokori and address a crowd without the separate detachments of soldiers and policemen in the area noticing. He seemed very confident in his Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in the area that he maintained, “The DPO in charge of the area says nothing of such took place, I am of the opinion that the event was stage-managed by some elements using the media.”
Those who know Aduba understand that he was speaking based on information passed to him by his men on ground, and nothing more. Just as Aduba is asking how Kelvin entered Kokori without the knowledge of police and soldiers guarding the area, so worried Deltans are asking, how on earth are the security agents saying they are not aware that such an infraction occurred when gunshots were freely fired by the so-called LIMUP members. No security officer would admit such a compromise with a criminal except he is linked or caught with hard evidence, but if truth be told; it is patent that some people have been compromised in the Kelvin affair.
Why Kelvin is an albatross
Commissioner Aduba had cracked so many kidnap cases since he came to Delta state. But Kelvin has remained an albatross for him because people were not willing to give information to the police on his whereabouts. He is vicious and police suspect that the people were under oath not to talk to security agents about him, as those invited bluntly refused to say anything. Even an effort by the governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, to elicit information from leaders of Kokori, some months back, hit a dead end.
Many gangs working for him – Police
Speaking to Vanguard exclusively, last year December, on the most wanted kidnapper and his modus operandi, Aduba said: “If you ask of the axis, the main axis is Kokori and the person training them is one Kelvin. He is operating from Kokori and has been declared wanted. There is another graduate of ImoStateUniversity, who made a 2.1 in mechanical engineering, these are the two in that axis, and they are training people. Most of the Okada people that you find around this Kokori axis, they bought these machines for them, we have some of their boys and they are cooling off in prison. They were arraigned in court and were ordered to be remanded.“
Asked if Kelvin runs a training school for kidnappers, he said, “I cannot say that in the media. Nevertheless, what I can tell is that this Kelvin recruits undergraduates, graduates, Okada riders, and he buys motorcycles for them and tutors them. He has so many gangs in the state working for him. There is a network; this is what I have discovered and we have been finding it difficult to get at him because, in that axis, the moment they see any stranger, they will blow the whistle. However, we have been able to bulldoze to some extent; it is in Kelvin’s house that we picked up the personal assistant to a commissioner in the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, who was kidnapped. His (Kelvin) parents are there, but you know this arrest by proxy, we do not want to be involved in it; otherwise, the person that is giving everybody headache in this state is Kelvin and he is from Kokori,” he said.
Who will seize Kelvin?
Since last week when the issue of Kelvin stared the state blatantly, the diminutive kidnap kingpin, believed to be wealthy and mercurial in his movement, had gone underground. From available information, he knows when to strike, and he more often than not strikes when it is hot, after which, he melts into the thin air. While it is assumed that the joint onslaught on him and other kidnappers by the police, army and other security agencies, some few months ago, made him to flee the state, Kelvin told inquisitive journalists, last Tuesday, that they decided to simmer down to give government chance to carry out development in their area and provide employment, but if after the 60-day ultimatum, nothing was done, they would show that nobody could cow them in the state.