There was drama in Owerri , the Imo state capital , on Friday when operatives of the state police command intercepted a convoy carrying the corpse of a 39 – year -old man , Kingsley Egwim, home for funeral rites .
The convoy , which was conveying the corpse from Rivers State to Amauziri in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State , was accosted at Tetlow by Bank Raod in Owerri by cops who were on a stop- and- search duty .
On being searched , a pistol with some live bullets was discovered in one of the buses in the convoy .
Upon the discovery , the police arrested the corpse and the mourners and marched them to the state police command headquarters .
The development attracted residents , who trooped out to watch the drama.
A police source told Southern City News that the testimony of one of the arrested persons made the operatives to force open the casket , leading to the discovery of a pistol with police insignia.
The source said , “While on a stop-and -search duty , the operatives of the command intercepted a convoy conveying a corpse home .
“Their attire and disposition raised the curiosity of the men and we quickly flagged them down. While their vehicles were ransacked, a pistol and bullets were recovered .
“We quickly marched them to the state command headquarters , where we forcefully opened the casket and found a pistol with police insignia on it. The pistol was with the corpse inside the casket .
“From preliminary investigation , the youths , numbering 72 – both male and female – are members of a cult group from Rivers State , who were possibly attending the funeral of one of their members .
“ What a pistol was doing inside a casket is what we do not understand. The pistol has police insignia , meaning that they might have killed a police officer and took his pistol or they stole it from policemen after attacking them .”
When Punch correspondent visited the command headquarters , the suspected cultists were seen being interrogated by operatives of the command .
Another source told our correspondent that the tattoos and knives cults on the bodies of the suspects indicated that they were dreaded cultists .
Southern City News gathered that the Commissioner of Police in the state , Dansuki Galandanchi, ordered the release of the corpse around 4 pm for funeral rites when the widow and father of the deceased came to the police command to identify the deceased .
Our correspondent saw some relatives of the deceased carrying the casket out of the command headquarters while police impounded the ambulance and other vehicles the suspects were arrested in .
The wife of the dead and her father were seen walking behind those carrying the casket out from the police premises .
The Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem , said two pistols , one with police insignia , and 44 rounds of live ammunition , were recovered from the suspects .
Enwerem , who said the arrest was as a result of the community policing strategy of the CP , gave the assurance that the suspects would be charged to court at the end of investigation .
Copyright PUNCH .