By Ngozi Uwujare
Godwin Opara, 38, Matthew Opara, 26, and 42-year-old Godspower Opara are brothers. But they are not just blood brothers; they are a cruel, bloodthirsty trio united in a bloody, devilish enterprise: kidnapping for ransom.
For these men, the word mercy has no meaning. Not a few have met their waterloo in the hands of these brothers. They have also, on many occasions, forcefully taken millions of naira in local and foreign currencies from families of their unfortunate victims.
But their reign of terror recently came to an abrupt end when officers and men of ‘Army Operation Delta Hawk’ apprehended them.
Until their arrest, they had kidnapped more than ten victims and made millions of naira as ransom.
One of their victims, it was gathered, was a 52-year-old woman abducted at Otor Community, Ughelli in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. Before her release, they took N5 million from her family.
Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ari Mohammed Ali told Saturday Sun that the three men had kidnapped various victims in Warri, Asaba and Ughelli and took them to Otor community where they held onto the victims for days. They were only released after the kidnappers had collected millions of naira as ransom from the victims’ relations.
Ali informed that about 10.20pm on January 29, the brothers kidnapped a 52-year-old woman in Ugheli and demanded over N10million from her family. The victim’s relations allegedly raised N5 million, but the brothers refused to release the woman. He said that prompted ‘Operation Hawk’ to swing into action and rescue the victim.
The police boss said the men of ‘Operation Hawk’ were assisted by vigilance groups, including the community leaders. The collaboration, he noted, yielded results, leading to the arrest of the brothers.
Some weapons, including AK47 rifles, one locally made pistol and ten live ammunitions were recovered from the suspects.
He noted that the three brothers started kidnapping over three years ago, adding that they have kidnapped two victims in the Warri/Sapele axis and collected N5million ransom from their relations.
In October/November 2019, it was gathered, the brothers also abducted a businessman in Warri and took him to their hideout. It was learnt that a million dollars was collected from the victim’s relations before he was released.
“In July/August 2020, they kidnapped two White men in Ughelli and took them to their hideout in the forest. They collected ransom in dollars from the victims’ family members. But they abandoned the victims and fled the area. Police detectives later came and rescued the victims.
“In December 2020, the three brothers also kidnapped a victim in the Asaba axis and took the victim to Ughelli. They kept the victim in their custody and demanded a ransom and collected millions of naira.
“In February 2019, the same gang also kidnapped two victims in Abraka axis and took them to their hideout in Ughelli and demanded a ransom of N5million. They collected over N1million before the victims were released after six days in their custody.
“Again, in September 2019, the same kidnappers abducted a victim along Ughelli who just came from abroad. They beat him to a state of coma and collected a ransom in dollars. The victim was released after spending three days in their custody,” CP Ali informed Saturday Sun.
One of the suspects, Godspower Opara admitted that they had indeed been involved in criminal activities.
Said he: “We have been involved in several kidnapping cases in Warri and Ughelli and we are brothers. We have terrorised people in Warri, Asaba and Ughelli. We would rob and kidnap people and then take them to Ughelli where we have our hideout.
“It is true that we kidnapped a woman in Ughelli and demanded N10million. The family of the victim paid N5million but we wanted more from them. Then the Army “Operation Hawk” came and arrested us. We have confessed and taken the soldiers to where we keep our arms and ammunition. We have also confessed to the police detectives,” he stated.
His brother and fellow suspect, Godwin Opara added: “It is a huge shame for our family, as we, three brothers of the same parents, are into kidnapping. We collected ransom and we shared it among ourselves .We have been totally involved in different kidnapping incidents. It is a big lesson to us that we could have changed but we enjoyed kidnapping because we got fast money from it,” he stated.
The CP, Ali said the command has started combing all the hideouts of the different kidnappers to enable the police to flush them out of the state.