The Ebonyi State Police Command, on Monday, confirmed the arrest of the traditional ruler of Ipene community in the Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State, Chief Paulinus Ogbor, and a retired police officer, identified simply as Onugh, for allegedly stealing three transformers.
The spokesperson for the command, DSP Loveth Odah, told PUNCH Metro that the duo were arrested by men of the 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Calabar, at Unwana in the Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on Friday, and were handed over to the police for further investigation.
It was gathered that the transformers belonged to the Umuolo, Etana, Ubum, Edu, Ibini, Afono, Urugbam, Ipene and Egbor communities in the Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The suspects, according to an army officer, who earlier spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, hail from Ipene.
They were said to have approached the army post in the area for cover on the pretext that they wanted to take the transformers to the owner in Calabar and were arrested at Unwana, while allegedly trying to move the transformers to the point of sale around 11.30pm on Friday.
The suspects were taken to the headquarters of the Ebonyi State Police Command, Abakaliki, for further interrogation.
Another source, said officers of the Nigerian Army in the area had allowed the suspects to move with the transformers after they claimed that officials of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company were aware of their action.
The source said, “Chief Paulinus from the Ipene community came and met us here. I was already sleeping when he came. Before then, I had told my boys that I didn’t want to see them because I knew their problem. He came with the OC Mopol and the officer called me and said the chief wanted to see me.
“They said there was going to be an attack on the community and I said I would find out. Secondly, the chief said he had transformers under his care and that the contractor wanted to carry them and that I should allow my boys not to disturb them.
“I said okay, the transformers are under your care and since the contractor you are talking about has papers that he actually owns the transformers, no problem and that if the EEDC people were aware of the transformers, then our men would allow them to go.
“That very night, they left with the transformers, but I got a call that the police intercepted them at Unwana in Ebonyi State. I said how? They said the whole thing was suspicious. Later, another person called and said they had gone to steal the transformers belonging to communities in the Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State.”
The Ebonyi State Police Command said the suspects had been moved to the Zone 6 headquarters in Calabar for further investigation.