The police in Abuja have arrested two members of a gang allegedly involved in the recruitment of fake traffic wardens and have launched a manhunt for the others still at large.
John Edet, 45, and God’slove John, 36, were arrested for alleged link to an illegal organisation, Traffic Watch and Development Initiative.
They were among the 31 suspects paraded in Abuja on Wednesday by the Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma.
Edet, who claimed ignorance of the illegal activities of the group, said he paid N30,000 to join the outfit and was issued uniform and boots.
The farmer explained that he bought the application form for N2,000, adding that he was subsequently asked to pay N20,000 for the uniform, which he was told would be refunded by the Federal Government.
Edet stated, “They said we should pay N20,000 for the uniform and that they would refund it by the time the President signs the bill for the Traffic Watch and Development Initiative. Everybody had to struggle to raise the money. That was in October. They said that by November 9, 2020, we would do documentation.
“On November 9, we went to Utako; we were many but could not do it. It was on Tuesday they started. As the thing was about to start, the police came there and arrested us around 2.30pm. The organisers were sending us text messages that the bill for the outfit would soon be passed; they were giving us assurances.”
Edet explained that nine applicants were arrested, adding that he could not explain why the others were released.
God’slove said she was introduced to the group by her father, Aplea John, adding that she paid N36,000 for the membership form and uniform.
The police said five bags containing orange and black uniforms; one big bag containing ranks and badges, boots and peak caps; one big bag of reflective jackets; and one bundle of unused materials were recovered from the group.
The CP assured Abuja residents of their safety during the Yuletide, adding that the command had deployed personnel in flashpoints in and around the FCT.
“As a follow-up to this, we have intensified vehicular and foot patrols, diligent stop-and-search operations, intelligence-based crime fighting strategies and constant raids on black spots, especially drug spots,” he stated.
Ciroma disclosed that one locally-fabricated pump action rifle, 11 locally-fabricated pistols, 31 pieces of ammunition, 24 phones and laptops, and four cars were recovered from the 31 suspects.