Yesterday, at the High Court in Owerri, Imo State, gunmen stormed the premises of the court, shooting at prison officials as they rescued a convict identified as Chibueze Henry (aka Vampire).
Prison officials were about to move Vampire, who is a well known notorious serial killer and armed robber, to the courtroom where his case was scheduled for hearing when the armed men invaded with in a sports utility vehicle.
Two persons, a prison official and a suspect, were reportedly shot dead while many others sustained injuries. Also about 30 suspected criminals brought to the court for trial escaped as well.
An undisclosed Judiciary staff noted that the armed men entered the court premises and operated successfully without any resistance.
“There is no way I can properly explain the commando-like incident to the outside world. The sound of their guns and their operational finesse, goes to prove that they were not amateurs in the game”, the staff noted.
According to a lawyer who was present at the attack, he noted that the notorious armed men were fully prepared for the attack.
“The gangsters were fully prepared for the rescue mission. Their gunshots hit an armed prison personnel and one of the suspects”, the lawyer stated.
“People scampered into safety. Some of the accused persons equally ran away for their life. I ran into the toilet room in the Bar Centre”, the lawyer added.
Another eyewitness noted that the incident was clearly what we watch in the movies.
“The attack virtually brought activities in the magistrate and high courts to an abrupt end. The armed men were obviously interested in rescuing one of their own”, he said
“The pathetic thing was that the armoured vehicle, which was stationed at the gate into the court remained silent and unmoved throughout the operation” he added.
While reacting to the incident, the Imo State Prison Command Public Relations Officer, Mr. James Maduba, said that the command received a call regarding armed men who were seen at the premises of the court in the morning.
He stated however that they thought they were operatives of the Directorate of State Security (DSS).
“We thought they were operatives of the Directorate of State Security, DSS, as we were conveying over 50 inmates to the court. The gunmen attacked some of our men and some of the inmates”, Maduba said.
“My Comptroller and other security chiefs in the state are on top of the situation”, he added.
Vampire was arrested by the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) in July 2015, after he tried to kidnap tribunal judges who were handling Election Petition in Imo State at their lodge in Disney Hotels along Onitsha-Owerri Road.
He escaped with bullet wounds on that day which he had gone to treat in the house of his elder brother’s wife in Ohafia, Abia State, where the DSS finally arrested him.
Vampire had successfully carried out several operations with his group.
One of them amongst others was the killing of his girlfriend, identified as Sandra Ijedinma, her elder sister, Praise Ozor and two (2) of her children at Igando area of Lagos State.
He eventually regroup again with his team in Imo State where he reportedly coordinated the kidnap of over 200 people, killing most of the victims including the wife of a royal father in Imo State and Official of the Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission which allegedly earned him N50million ransom.
While in prison, Vampire also coordinated some operations which included the kidnap of a middle aged woman and got a ransom of N5million.
The operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team however arrested his five member gang including a prison official who worked for him while he was in prison.
The Nigeria Police Command after Vampires escaped had already placed all police command across the nation on red alert. He is now clearly a wanted criminal nationwide.