By Ovat Abeng
A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Chief Celestine Okoye, has threatened to sue the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, CP Adeoye Aderemi, for linking him with the ongoing criminal activities in Awka, the state capital and it environ.
Chief Okoye, gave the CP 72 hours ultimatum to retract the statement or face a life legal battle with him.
He said he has contacted his lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), to commence process for the legal tussle, if the CP failed to swallow back the statement at the expiration of the 72-hours notice.
He called on the public to disregard CP Aderemi’s accusation, noting that it is a plan by some people to dent his hard earned imaged he has build for over 35 years as a Senior Police Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It was gathered that the CP, in a statement, addressed the retired DIG as a friend and associate of Ozo Jeff Nweke, the man, Police and some communities in the state, are allegedly accusing of heightening insecurity in the state capital, using his Blue Shield security outfit to intimidate, harass and shooting of anyone including Police Officer that crosses his path.
The statement of the CP read;
Brief on Criminal Antics of Ozo Jeff Nweke, Owner of Blue Shield Security Company, against State CID, Awka and Anambra State Police Command.
Ozo Jeff Nweke, an Ozo title holder in Awka is the founder of Blue Shield Security Company. His operatives are armed with Pump Action Guns. For years, his operatives and the Police in CPS and ‘B’ Divisions in Awka conduct joint patrol of the metropolis.
“Curiously this did not stem the tide of cult-related killings until the Command launched an all out war against cultists in the City which led to arrest and arraignment in court of not less than 40 suspected cultists who were remanded to Prison custody before normalcy was restored.
“Infact a notorious cult killer arrested by operatives of this Command confessed on video that they killed an operative of the Blue Shield Security Company sometime last year because he belonged to a rival cult group!
“In the last three months after my assumption of duty as Command CP, I have received several petitions from various communities in Anambra State accusing Ozo Jeff Nweke of using armed operatives of his Blue Shield Security Company for land grabbing. I referred all to State CID, Awka headed by DCP Akin Fakorede for investigation.
“Investigation into the cases indicted him for using his armed operatives to seize lands belonging to individuals and communities including Nibo and Enugwu Agidi which shares boundaries with Awka where Ozo Jeff is from.
“On one occasion his operatives shot a Policeman from Delta Command and stole his pistol. He had accompanied his Principal to visit his property in one of the areas Ozo Jeff grabbed land. When CID Operatives who were already investigating the land grab case which is made a crime by laws of Anambra State responded to the scene, Blue Shield guards opened fire on the Team. They were however overwhelmed by the Police Team, disarmed, arrested and detained. They have been arraigned in court.
“I gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the Blue Shield company for the recovery of the stolen Police Pistol or else we would close down the company. DIG Celestine Okoye (Rtd) a friend and associate of Ozo Jeff Nweke called me and I explained to him reason for the ultimatum. In the evening of that day, DIG Celestine Okoye called me to his house in Awka and handed over the stolen Pistol to me. I handed it to DC CID whom I called to accompany me as a witness since he was the one handling the investigation.
“When I approved charge in the land grabbing case Ozo Jeff had with Nibo people, he rushed to Abuja in a bid to have the case taken over by Force CID with a view to escaping justice. DIG Force CID rather than taking over the case called for the duplicate Case File for a review in line with IGP’s policy on transfer of cases. At the end of the review this Command was directed by DIG Force CID to carry on with the investigation.
“Ozo Jeff Nweke and operatives of his company have been charged to court in three different cases, one at the Federal High Court and two at the State High Court.
“Despite being served with arraignment notices he has refused to appear in court. We will be applying for Bench Warrant for his arrest at the next sitting.
“These are the background details to his current media campaign of blackmail against DCP Akin Fakorede and the State CID, Awka whom he is accusing of corruption ostensibly for not siding with his criminal escapades.
“In a video clip he released alleging that one of the IPOs Inspr Monday demanded for N20m bribe from him and accepted a N100,000 offer, it was actually a set up against the unwary police officer.
“In the early days of investigation when Ozo Jeff was invited for questioning he feigned serious illness. This made DC CID to direct the Inspector to go and record his statement in his office inorder not to stall investigation. The detective did not go alone. He was accompanied by a female detective. Still the suspect did not make any statement. Instead he promised to come to the CID the next day to do the needful. He handed a wad of notes to the detective which he said was to cover their transport costs. Inspr Monday even bowed to thank him in the video clip. That was not consistent with a person who demanded N20million bribe as claimed by the blackmailer.
“When the video failed to trend or win public sympathy to the crime suspect he resorted to hiring people for sponsored protests against the Command targeting DCP Akin Fakorede, Inspr Monday and the CID.
“SIB operatives monitored the motley hired crowd who took off for the protest to State CID Awka from the house of Ozo Jeff Nweke. They were issued with placards and banners prepared by this fugitive from justice
Reacting further to the statement while briefing journalists at his residence in Awka, on Friday night, Chief Okoye quarrel over why the CP, he respected so much will decide to dent his hard earned reputation.
According to him, “ever since I happily enrolled into the prestigious Nigeria Police Force till I retired from the service, I have never had a troublesome person as a friend or associate. Why should CP Aderemi linked me with crime, Okoye asked? I am not happy.
“I am an indigene of Awka town, an Ozo title holder and a respected community leader who has pay his price and still paying to ensure that togetherness is sustained in Awka town and beyond.
“The recovered stolen Pistol, the CP is using to linked me as partner in crime, I personally recovered it from the criminal suspect and handed it over to him in my house in presence of DC SCID.
“I am a known Community leader in Awka town. Every indigene of Awka knows me as a respected leader. The Ozo Jeff Nweke, police are accusing of sponsoring a protest to remove Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State CID, DC Akin Fakorode and Inspector Monday Umana is also an Awka man. I knows him as brother from the same Community and the owner of Blue Shield security company based here in Awka, I have no business relationship with him.
“To be honest with you members of the press, before this outburst I have held several meetings with the CP whom I called a friend to organized a security stakeholders meeting with leaders in all the communities that constitute Awka, on how to curtailed the issues concerning cult-killings and other related criminal activities in the state capital and he proudly ignored the calls. And now is linking me into the show of shame.
“I am using this medium to informed the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, the Police Service Commission (PSC), the Anambra State Government and the general public that I Chief Dr Celestine Okoye, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), know nothing about the accusation and the ongoing rift between the Anambra State Police Command and the Chairman of Blue Shield security company, Ozo Jeff Nweke.
“I also urged the IGP to called the CP to order.
“Also CP Aderemi should publicly retract the accusation statement against me with immediate effect, for the sake of peace and sportsmanship,” he warned.