Paul Kobani, Gokana LG chairman: arrested over alleged link to most wanted criminal gang leader

Okafor Ifiebor/ Rivers

Crack Detectives from the Rivers Police Command have arrested the Chairman of Gokana Local Government Chairman, Hon. Paul Vidag Kobani over alleged link with Honest Diigbara, aka Boboski, the late notorious leader of criminal gang which operated in the Ogoni communities of the State.

Boboski, who had N30 million ransom on his head was arrested by the Police over weekend.

Acting on a tip-off, a team of policemen with the support of the local vigilance group had traced Boboski to a wake keep ceremony where he was arrested alongside with his second in command who was identified to be his immediate younger brother after a gun fight.

But died few hours after he was paraded before journalists from gunshot wounds.

It was learnt that the Gokana Local Government Chairman was also arrested in the early hours of Thursday from his residence after a prolonged, discreet investigation by undercover detectives of the Command who had been on the trail of late Boboski and his associates.

Boboski on parade by the Police before he died

Public Relations Officer of the command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, also confirmed the arrest. He said crack detectives are investigating the Chairman to authenticate allegations of his alleged link to the notorious gang leader.

The Rivers State Government had on Thursday redeemed the N30 million bounty it placed on the head of Boboski for information that lead to his arrest.

Rivers Police Commissioner, Joseph Mukan, had while speaking on a live programme on  Silverbird Television on Wednesday revealed that the Command had identified prominent Rivers citizens responsible for proliferation of cultism in the state and that they will be brought to book as nobody is above the law.

He also assured the state Government, while receiving the N30 million bounty placed on the head of Boboski on Thursday that other members of the notorious gang will be tracked down and arrested.

Some irate Rivers youths have shutdown the Afam transmission station, causing a total blackout in Port Harcourt, the state capital, and its environs.

The youths were protesting against the alleged inability by the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) to provide steady electricity at no cost to its host communities.

Consequently, the Afam youths in Oyibo Local Government Area mobilised in their numbers, barricaded the road leading to the power station and stopped the Transmission Company of Nigeria workers from accessing the facility on Friday night.

One of the protesters, who gave his name simply as Kingsley, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they were protesting against unsteady power supply in their communities. He said their action was prompted by the alleged disconnection of the communities from the national grid due to their failure to pay electricity bills.

The Manager, Corporate Communications of PHED, Mr John Onyi, confirmed the incident to NAN in Port Harcourt on Saturday.

He said: “The Oyibo youths barricaded the transmission station located inside Afam, the main source of power to Port Harcourt.

“This action has been the reason the residents are experiencing power outage,” Onyi said. He said that PHED was worried over the frequent shutdown of the Afam facility by youths.

He contended that the development always resulted in huge revenue losses to the company.

“They carried similar action on August 14 by shutting down the same power station, leading to total darkness in Port Harcourt.

“The shutdown at the time prompted a meeting of all the stakeholders, including the Rivers Ministry of Power, to resolve the imbroglio.

“The meeting led to the setting up of a sub-committee with a mandate to find a lasting solution to the matter, and given 10 days to submit its report,” Onyi said.

He described the protest as disappointing, especially as the youths reportedly sent representatives to the meeting and were aware of the outcome of the engagement.

The PHED spokesman debunked the allegation that the company disconnected the host communities from the power grid and blamed the outage to faulty lines.

According to him, the company wanted to fix the faulty lines but decided against it due to huge cost involved. “Also, we were constrained to deploy such huge resources to a community that has never paid electricity bill for seven years of PHED’s existence in the area.

“Everyone knows that electricity is not free anywhere in the world, and so, such action by the communities makes it difficult for PHED to pay salaries and meet other statutory obligations. “We seek the intervention of opinion leaders and security agencies to prevail on the youths to vacate the place to enable PHED to distribute power to its customers,” Onyi said.