Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
A former Director-General, National Taskforce to Combat Illegal Importation, Smuggling of Small Arms, and Light Weapons, Osita Okereke, has been remanded in Kuje prison, Abuja, for illegal firearms possession by a Wuse Magistrates’ Court.
The firearms were reportedly found in his various offices in the Federal Capital Territory and in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, during the execution of a search warrant by the police.
Okereke, who was remanded alongside 22 others, was also accused of defrauding job seekers of millions of naira, parading as the DG of the Taskforce and assaulting two police officers who attempted to arrest him following a petition to the Inspector-General of Police by the acting Director-General (Special Taskforce)of the Importers Association of Nigeria, Amb. Chijioke Okoro.
The former DG was arrested on April 18, 2019, while paying a courtesy call on the acting IG, Mohammed Adamu, at the Force headquarters, Abuja, and was consequently charged to court.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, informed The PUNCH on Wednesday, that the police recovered from Okereke’s offices, three locally made revolver guns; three dane guns; live cartridges; a pair of army camouflage uniforms, nine police belts, and two tear gas canisters.
Other items recovered include one stun baton, 11 pairs of desert boots, a pair of handcuffs and other incriminating objects.
Mba said, “On the strength of the petition to the IG, two police Inspectors attached to the Intelligence Response Team went after him and were able to trace him to Gracious hotel on April 18.
“Surprisingly, after identifying themselves as policemen, Okereke signaled his boys to beat up the officers. The boys assaulted them, injuring the officers in the process.”
The DCP added, “The suspects also seized the mobile phones of the police officers, identity cards and other things. Okereke has since been charged to court alongside 22 others and remanded in Kuje prison.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Importers Association of Nigeria, Chief Gilbert Obi, has said that Okereke ceased to function as DG of IMAN since 2015.
He said, “Okereke was suspended and sacked in 2015 by the IMAN Board of Trustees; He fraudulently declared our certificate of incorporation lost and deceived the Corporate Affairs Commission with a court affidavit which subsequently issued him with another certificate of incorporation.