The jubilation that erupted in Omoku, the headquarters of Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni local government on the earlier rumoured death of a notorious militant, cultist, kidnapper and illegal oil bunkerer, Mr. Igwedibia Johnson, (aka “Don Wanni”), who has been terrorising the peace-loving Omoku community in particular, as well as the entire people of Rivers and Bayelsa States has evaporated as the information is confirmed to be false.
Don Wanny was earlier reported dead during a gun battle involving a joint operation between Nigerian security forces and a local vigilante group in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Council of Rivers State on Sunday.
The news of the demise of the criminal kingpin led to widespread jubilation in different parts of the local government as hundreds of residents and indigenes trooped out to local government council headquarters to confirm if he was actually killed.
However, they were denied access to the local council secretariat where his dead body was rumored to have been kept. But all those who had besieged the alleged venue left one by one in disappointment as no one sighted his corpse. This raised doubts about the rumoured killing of the dreaded gang leader.
The Deputy Director Army Public Relations of the 6 division of the Nigerian Army, Colonel AMINU ILIYASU in a statement confirmed that there was indeed a raid on Don Wanni’s camp, shrines and luxurious mansion in the early hours of Monday.
The military spokesperson said items recovered during the raid included 10 human skulls, various human bones, 2 AK-47 Rifles, 1 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), 18 AK-47 Rifle Magazines, 4 pairs of military camouflage, 5 camouflage T-Shirts, 3 Fabrique Nationale (FN) Rifle magazines, 39 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 20 rounds of 9mm ammunition and 1 round of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition.
Other items recovered he said, include 2 bags weighing about 25kg containing substances believed to Cannabis (Marijuana), 3 ICOM Hand-held Radios and 2 MAG ONE Hand-held Radios.
Colonel Aminu said, “after about an hour of gun fight, the gallant troops overpowered the criminal elements. Some of them scampered in disarray and are believed to have escaped with gunshot wounds through River Orashe in Omoku. The troops, however, arrested 7 others including 2 ladies while they were trying to escape during the encounter.
It is believed that the main kingpin, Igwedibia Johnson, (aka “Don Waney”), was not at the location during the encounter as concerted efforts are on by security agencies to track, arrest and bring him to justice.
Nigerian Army also thanked the people who provided the tip-off that made the raid possible and pleaded for more support through information provision until Don Wanni is finally caught dead or alive.
For now, the excitement of the people seems to have disappeared and they now appear to be living in greater fear over possible vengeance after the unsuccessful operation by his escapee gang members.