Just as Osama bin Laden was eventually neutralized by American special forces in Pakistan, after a manhunt that lasted for more than a decade, the police in Kogi State have also ended the long reign of terror unleashed on the of Ihima community in the state by a notorious serial killer, who was declared wanted 10 years ago, and had since been on the run.
The heartless killer wasted over 150 lives in various churches and other places. There was therefore joy and cause for celebration when the alleged 45-year-old serial killer and arsonist, Lukman Issah, a.k.a Commander, who defied capture by five past police commissioners in Kogi, died from gunshot injuries he received during a shootout with the policemen led by the commander of the Special Armed Robbery Squad, Supo Bimbo Oyewole, at Ihima community, Okehi LGA, on September 3, 2017.
While he was being rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Issah was reported to have begged the police officers not to let him die, appealing to them to spare his life. But he gave up ghost on the way and his corpse was then deposited at the mortuary.
Issah who hailed from Emani clan of Obeiba, Ihima in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State was a vicious bloodletting serial killer and arsonist. He had a long spell of criminal reign. He allegedly killed over 150 innocent people, including police, DSS, Army and Prison officers posted to the state. He and his gang always left a trail of blood and arson as they murdered people in cold blood.
Upon assuming duties in the state, Sunday Sun gathered that the Commissioner of Police, Mr Wilson Inalegwu, deployed new strategies which were implemented by the commander of the Special Armed Robbery Squad, Supol Bimbo Oyewole and his men, which led to the breakthrough that brought Issah’s reign to an end.
About the same time, operatives of the Federal SARS in Abuja, were also on the trail of Issah, who was a high profile suspect on the Most Wanted List in the state and at Federal SARS Abuja.
His reign of terror was said to have ticked up on November 30, 2009, when Issah and his gang stormed the home of Tafa Ogirima and Taye Adubazi, where a naming ceremony was going on and shot the duo dead. The distraught family reported the case to the police, but all efforts to arrest Lukman and his gang members proved futile.
Again, on March 29, 2011, Issah and the gang attacked men of 37 Police Mobile Force posted on special duty at Adogo in Ajaeokuta LGA of Kogi State. Four police officers, namely, Inspector Maxwell Dan-Zaira, Sergeant Moses Usman, Corporal Sunday Ogbole and Constable Bulus Linka, were were all killed during the attack. Their arms and ammunition were taken away by the gang.
The gang had also on May 15, 2011, attacked a police patrol team, which was on stop and search duty along Ogori/Magongo Division. In the attack, Inspector Ochekpo Amanyi of 37PMF squadron and another officer were shot dead while the patrol vehicle used by the police team was set ablaze. Two AK-47 rifles in custody of the two deceased officers were taken away with a total 60 rounds of ammunitions.
Similarly, on August 6, 2012, the gang attacked worshippers at the Deeper Life Bible Church, Otite, near Federal College of Education, Okene, and killed 19 worshippers while several others sustained injuries. Three suspects, namely Abdulmanna Obadakil, Yokini Isah, and Sadiq Jimoh Bello, members of Lukman Issah’s gang were arrested in connection with crime. Six AK47 rifles including military rifles and one Beretta pistol were recovered from them. The arrested suspects indicted Lukman Issah of involvement in the commission of the crime.
Meanwhile Issah’s reign of terror continued when, in February 2012, he shot one Ohireba dead at Ihima, as the victim was relaxing in front of his house in the evening. The killing was linked to the stoppage of the Okiri masquerade outing during the fuel subsidy crisis.
On August 14, 2016, a member of the state House of Assembly narrowly escaped death after Isah had threatened to kill him if he failed to pay him N3 million to avert the planned assassination. The state lawmaker and his family abandoned their home and went into hiding.
Apparently emboldened by his inglorious exploits, he threatened on August 20, 2017, to unleash mayhem on the people of Ihima community if the proposed installation of a new clan head, the Obobanyi of Ohueta by the Ohueta clan (one of the six clans that make up Ihima community of which Emani is one) was allowed to hold.
It was gathered that the people of Emani clan, where Issah hailed from opposed the use of the Obobanyi title by the Ohueta clan. Through intelligence, the police discovered that Issah was to serve the arrowhead of attack and was indeed amassing arms and ammunition preparatory to wage war.
Recalling the traumatic experience of the attack on the church that happened on August 6, 2012, during a vigil, one of the pastors of the Deeper Life Church, Pastor James Oscar, said that Issah and his gang member shot indiscriminately. They killed many of church members and injured several others.
“It is just the grace of God that the church is still on. We lost some members of the church who stopped attending the church because of the incident. We have handed everything over to God. We heard that the killer was killed, we know that God has fought for us and we believe that our God is alive,” Oscar said.
A member of the Landlord Association in Lokoja, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule, praised the police for killing Issah, who had brought sorrow to many families.
“Today, the Kogi State is calm, the period of criminality and victimization, of killing innocent soul is gone,” Sule said.
“We want the Kogi State Police Command to go after the remaining criminals who have also been terrorising the state. The state government should give police a solid support to fight criminals in the state. We want to give glory to Allah.”
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Wilson Inalegwu assured that the Command would not relent in the fight against criminals, to ensure that there is peace in Kogi State.