The police authorities in Abuja have foiled suspected attempts by a notorious militant group, operating from the creeks of Ikorodu and Arepo areas of Lagos and Ogun States, to bomb the Third Mainland Bridge, the longest bridge in West Africa.
The Guardian gathered yesterday that a top commander of the group, Abiodun Amos, who is also known as Senti, an Ijaw native of Arugbo, from Ese-Odo Local Council of Ondo State, was arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
The suspect, who was also said to be the group’s chief expert in explosives, was trailed to a riverbank at the Majidu area of Ikorodu, Lagos.Sources disclosed that two AK47 rifles, hidden in a ‘Ghana-Must-Go’ bag, were found in his possession at the time of his arrest, while he led the IRT operatives to a vehicle parked discreetly within Ikorodu, where a large cache of dynamite and detonators were recovered from its boot.
The intelligence, which was generated by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), 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.
The IGP, who was said to be dazed by the report, swiftly directed his operatives at the IRT, led by Abba Kyari, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), to commence a full-scale investigation and it was discovered afterwards that the group was actually planning to blow up the bridge at the end of November 2016.
Further investigation revealed that the group had acquired large quantities of dynamite and several other explosives, which would be used for the attack.
Meanwhile, in October 2016, the group, which has no known identity and was notorious for pipeline vandalism, kidnapping and bank robberies, had demanded amnesty, threatening to disrupt economic activities within Lagos and Ogun States if the Federal Government does not dialogue with them and grant them pipeline protection contracts.
The leader of the militant group, known as General Ossy Ibori, who had in recent time coordinated most of the bank robberies and several high-profile kidnappings, including those of three school girls, at Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu, four landlords at Isheri North Area of Lagos, Oniba of Ibaland, Oba Goriola Oseni, and several others, within the Lagos and Ogun states axis, boasted that his group has over 21 generals commanding 7,800 battle-ready boys.
When newsmen interviewed the 43-year-old suspect, he confessed that his militant group was formerly into pipeline vandalism but they resorted into kidnapping when it became difficult for them to vandalize 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 would not listen to us. We had concluded plans and we decided to carry out the attack in 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,” he said.