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24 Feb 2018

One Year After, Police Nab Last Suspect In Zenith Bank Robbery

One year after an armed robbery gang invaded a branch of Zenith Bank in Owerri, the Imo State capital, killing one policeman and injuring another who lost his eye, the police have arrested the last member of the deadly gang.
The native of Obazu Mbieri in the Mbaitoli Local Government Area of the state was paraded on Friday by the Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike.

Ezike said, “I am delighted to announce to you that the remaining member of the gang, 29-year-old Chinonso Gift Onwuegbuchulam (AKA Ogolo), was arrested on February 21, 2018.

“The suspect, who claimed to hold a bachelor’s degree in Government and Public Administration from the Imo State University and claimed to have graduated in 2008, was arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”

According to the CP, the suspect has confessed to the crime and further revealed that out of the N2.8m his gang took from their target seen in the CCTV footage of the incident which went viral, he got a share of N400,000

“The suspect has equally confessed to have being in the armed robbery business since 2012 and participated in several robberies in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Owerri between 2012 and 2017. He is helping our investigation as we speak,” the CP said.

In the CCTV video, which went viral in April 2017, a policeman, Sgt. Chukwudi Iboko, was seen engaging Onwuegbuchulam’s gang in a shoot-out.

The policeman, who was later discovered to have succumbed to his injuries after the attack, was applauded as a hero, while The PUNCH raised over $15,000 through GoFundMe for his family and that of his colleague, who was also injured in the attack.

According to the police boss, the arrest of Onwuegbuchulam signalled the end of this criminal gang and their activities.

The police boss said, “I addressed the press on June 13, 2017 on this subject matter where I stated that on February 22, 2017, an armed robbery gang trailed a bank customer to the Wetheral Road branch of Zenith Bank,Owerri and unleashed attack within the bank premises.

“The hoodlums shot sporadically and exchanged gunfire with the three policemen on duty at the bank.”

One of the armed robbers, Ikechukwu Okpara, was shot dead by Iboko.

Ezike said that through investigations, three members of the gang, Justice Ogbenna (36), Abiye Charles and Okechukwu Nwanegbo were arrested by the police.

He recalled that two AK47 rifles with one hundred rounds of live ammunition and a rifle with 175 rounds of ammunition were recovered from the gang along with four vehicles.

“The arrest of the remaining member of the gang, Chinonso Gift Onwuegbuchulam, from Obazu Mbieri in the Mbaitoli LGA of Imo state signals the end of this criminal gang and its nefarious activities,” Ezike said.

When interviewed, the suspect confessed that he was part of the Owerri robbery and got N400,000 as his reward.

“I am aware that my gang members are dead and that was why I ran to Lagos so as to escape the police,” the suspect said.

Responding to a question, Onwuegbuchulam said, “I regret my actions. If given another opportunity, I would be a good person.”

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