A trader named Chukwunonso Chike and five others have been arrested by policemen from the Special Anti Robbery Squad in Ikeja, Lagos for allegedly kidnapping a woman in Ogudu area.
Chike was arrested in his home a few weeks after the crime was allegedly committed. The suspect had worked with a pharmaceutical company owned by one Ebuka for about nine years before he resigned in 2007. However, a problem soon arose he said in an interview with SATURDAY PEOPLE.
“Before I resigned, I didn’t have any problem with Ebuka. I saw him as an elder brother because he was nice to me. It wasn’t until I informed him that I was getting married in 2011 that our relationship turned sour. Ebuka did all he could to discourage me from marrying my wife, but I didn’t listen to him because he could not give me any good reason.
“Shortly after I got married, my wife began to have problems with Ebuka at work. He accused her of fraud and other offences. This is a woman who was the best marketer with the company at the time.
“My wife suffered two miscarriages because of the stress at work. Eventually she was unceremoniously sacked. She did not receive any formal letter to that effect. It was at this time, I conferred with some of my friends and decided to kidnap Ebuka’s sister in retaliation for all he put my wife through,” Chike said.
Chike had discussions with three friends known as Richard, Obinna and Ifeanyi, who were fellow traders at Idumota Market in Lagos. Then, the four men decided that they needed arms to ensure the success of their operation.
“It was Richard who told me that he knew people who could get guns for us. He then invited three more persons – Chimebere Utobo, Chidiebere Nwoye and Afeez – who assured us that they could procure a gun for the kidnap. Already I knew where Ebuka’s sister lived and the type of car she was using.
“So a few days to the incident, I took some members of the gang there and showed them the house. I told them where to keep Ebuka’s sister in Ikorodu.
“The night before the kidnap, I took all the members of my gang to a hotel in Ketu and kept them there. When it was morning, they all moved to Ogudu. I didn’t go along with them because I did not want the incident traced back to me,” Chike recalled.
At about 8 am on the day of the incident, just as their victim drove out of her home, Ebuka’s sister was accosted by Utobo, Nwoye and Afeez who moved close to her car and showed her a gun.
Frightened, the victim allowed the three men to enter the car with her. The group picked up Richard and Obinna, who had been waiting somewhere, on their way out of Ogudu and drove their victim to Ikorodu.
Later, Ebuka was contacted. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of N11m in exchange for his sister’s freedom. After two days, the money was ready.
At about 10 pm on November 21, 2012, Ebuka dropped the ransom money at a spot at Ojodu/Berger on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, as directed by the kidnappers. Thirty minutes later, his sister was dropped off at Mile 12. Already, her kidnappers had stolen her cell phones and other items in her possession.
Utobo denied using a locally made double barreled gun to intimidate the victim. “What I really had in my hand was a metal pipe but she didn’t know. I hid the rest of the pipe with my cloth because I knew there was no way she would cooperate with me if she knew we were not armed. I don’t own a gun; have never had one,” he said.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, confirmed the arrests. He said, “Ebuka made a report at the State Investigation Bureau Ikeja. They began to track the gang through the victim’s cell phone, which, unknown to Chike, was being used by Utobo.
“Chike’s number was obtained from the phone and he was subsequently arrested. The case was thereafter transferred to SARS where he confessed to the crime and was instrumental to the arrest of five of his colleagues. The seventh person, Afeez, is on the run and efforts are being made to apprehend him.”