Gift David Okpara, the wanted suspect in the murder of Bako Angbashim, the Divisional Police Officer of Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State, has spoken out from hiding.
The renowned cultist, also known as General 2-Baba, denied killing Angbashim in a voice message broadcast on a prominent radio station (92.3, Nigeria Info, Port Harcourt) on Monday morning.
The wanted leader of the Iceland cult also claimed to have spoken with the late DPO Angbashim hours before his murder, while also explaining why his group picked up weapons after being granted amnesty by the previous administration.
He said, “I want to tell the Rivers State Government that I am not involved in anything concerning the death of the DPO. I didn’t want to say anything all this time. But I decided to speak out because of the way people were talking about it.
“I was surprised, and I want to tell people that I was not after the DPO and I’m not involved in his death. It is just that the incident happened on my community road. And the day the killing occurred, I spoke with him. I and the DPO discussed this.
“I was not even there when he was killed that day, and I was shocked when I heard about the incident.”
He stated that he returned to crime when his gang surrendered their weapons in response to the amnesty granted to them, but that a rival gang refused to surrender and its members were killing his own members, including his younger brother, and that the government took no action against them.
“We submitted all the arms and ammunition we had, but our opposition refused to submit. And I saw that the government didn’t do anything about it. So, my gang started regretting our decision to submit our arms.
“So, since we no longer had weapons, our rivals now used the advantage to trail us and kill members of my gang. They killed my younger brother of the same parents and burned our house. That was my annoyance, and that was why I went back to gunplay (crime),” he said.
The suspect, who now claims to be a freedom fighter for the youths of Ekpeye (communities in his region), also denied involvement in kidnapping, illegal bunkering, and other criminal crimes, claiming to be in the dredging business.
According to Okpara, “I didn’t pick up arms again for the purpose of intimidating people and causing problems. Everybody knows I was not into kidnapping, illegal bunkering, or any criminal activity.
“I have just been concentrating on my business. And everybody knows that the only business I was doing was dredging. That is what I do,” adding that he was self-sponsored and not bankrolled by a traditional ruler as claimed.
The Rivers State Police Command designated General 2-Baba wanted following the brutal murder of SP Angbashim on September 8, 2023, in Odiemude community, Ahoada East LGA of the state.
A monarch and a former LG Chairman are among the 50 people on trial for Angbashim’s gruesome murder.
The state police command has searched criminal hideouts in the Ahoada area multiple times and executed some people linked to the DPO’s death, but the principal target, 2-Baba, has remained elusive.
Attempts by operatives to collect the late Angbashim’s beheaded body have also failed.