Sunday Okoro, a notorious criminal and hatchet man allegedly working for Delta State House of Assembly SpeakerMonday Igbuya, was involved in a gun battle on Thursday with officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who came to arrest him in Sapele, Sapele Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State.
SaharaReporters reliably learned that Mr. Okoro, who is a leader of the dreaded White Ladder cult group in Sapele, ran out of bullets during the gun duel and escaped into the bush with bullet wounds.
Confiding in SaharaReporters, a police officer at the Delta State Police Command disclosed that SARS officers were in Sapele to arrest the leader of the White Ladder cult group who is wanted by the police in connection to murder, attempted murder, arson, and other crimes.
"Men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad Police Force Headquarters in Abuja trailed the wanted criminals to Royal London Hotel Road, off Shell Road in Sapele and on sighting the team, [Mr. Okoro] ordered his boys to open fire on the policemen and in the process he and his boys ran out of bullets and escaped into the bush," one police source stated.
According to an eyewitness who requested anonymity, the cult leader was with four of his men when the police team confronted them.
"When the policemen in mufti attempted to block his car, he brought out a pump action gun and ordered his gunmen in his car to open fire on the police, and a gun battle ensued. Immediately the cult leader and his boys opened fire on the policemen, the police immediately returned fire and after sensing that the policemen would not be deterred, he abandoned his car and ran into the bush with his three other men with gun wounds," the eyewitness said.
Confirming the incident, a senior police officer at the Sapele Divisional Police Headquarters, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that Mr. Okoro and his team fled into the bush with bullet wounds, adding that his bloodstained car was recovered and taken to the Sapele police station.
All attempts by a SaharaReporters correspondent to take a photograph of the car, which was riddled with bullets and packed at the Sapele police station, were unsuccessful, as he was not allowed by the policemen on duty who said that the car has become an exhibit.
SaharaReporters learned that Mr. Okoro, who is also standing trial for his alleged role in cult related crime in Sapele at a Magistrate Court, had asked the court presided over by Magistrate O. C. Usiata for two adjournments through his counsel to travel to India for medical attention, which was granted. However, the cult leader has remained in town terrorizing witnesses to the case.
It would be recalled that earlier this year, Delta youth, men, and women from the Okirighwre community, Sapele LGA numbering around 50, accused the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya, of working with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to release members of the killer cult squad who are allegedly loyal to Speaker Igbuya.
Youths from the area also led a similar protest to the State Ministry of Justice in Asaba in August 2015 accusing the State DPP and some officials of the ministry of receiving a N5 million bribe from the speaker to free the arrested cult members and also free his hatchet man, the leader of the cult, Mr. Okoro, with a case file charge number MS 193C.