As a cripple, he looks innocent, even pitiable. But don’t be deceived by his pitiable, innocent look. The young man does not have in himself some pity for anybody. He does not pity his victims, male and female, as they would have loved to pity him if he were innocent. But as it were, as a kingpin of gang of armed robbers and kidnappers who specialised in extorting large sums of money from their victims, while subjecting the female ones to bouts of savage sex, without pity or mercy, he is anything but innocent.
His name is Chidera Emerenini. He is 39 years old. But you can easily substitute his name with Pithy-less and it would still carry the same weight of sadism and terror. He was one of the two Imo State-based notorious criminal careerists whose activities were recently terminated by the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the State Police Command, led by Linus Nwaiwu (Superintendent of Police). The other one is 27-year-old Cajetan Ndubuisi. Both are notorious gang leaders.
A peep into their operational mode
Providing some insight into how Emerenini and co. operate and how they were nabbed, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Isaac Akinmoyede told Saturday Sun that he and members of his gang have been in the police gun-sight since 2017. That was after they kidnapped and robbed one Dim Echezona Collins, and collected from him ransom running into millions of naira. In an interview with our correspondent, Emerenini admitted to the crime and added that he had kidnapped, robbed and raped more than 10 victims since he started operations.
Akinmoyede revealed that his men had been on the trail of Emerenini and gang from January 14, 2017, when they kidnapped Collins at Akokwa in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State. They took him to an unknown destination in his black Lexus SUV. They dispossessed him of valuables before finally taking him to their hideout in Ifakala/Umunoha in Mbaitoli L.G.A. There, they kept him in a shallow pit and demanded for heavy ransom.
Gang meets waterloo, Emerenini regroups
But the long arm of the law caught up with him when in January, 2020, three members of the gang, Orodo Amaukwu, Stephen Akuche and Chidera Igbo, had a gun duel with the police while in the process of kidnapping another victim in Imo State. In the gun battle that ensued, they sustained fatal injuries and were taken to the police clinic where they later gave up the ghosts.
Following a tip-off from his departed colleagues, the Anti-Kidnapping Unit, on April 23, 2020 stormed Ogbaku in Imo State and arrested Chidera Emerenini. This was after he raised another gang and re-grouped and started planning a new operation in Imo State. It was while they were at it that they were rounded up in their hideout at Ogbaku near Owerri.
Since he became caught in police dragnet, Emerenini has been talking about his criminal activities. He told Saturday Sun that he was born cripple and didn’t have much of formal education. “I only went to primary school,” he said. “I am into Indian hemp selling in the jungle. It was there that we formed the five-man gang. I am the mastermind and executioner of the armed robbery and kidnap operations. We have carried out different kidnap operations during which time we collected millions of naira as ransom from the relatives of the victims.” Sources said they had collected more than N30 million as at the time of their arrest.
On Echezona Collins’s case, he explained how the operation was made possible and the role that he played towards its successful execution. “I was the one that used to make the phone call to the victims’ relatives to negotiate the ransom,” he informed. “My major role is to watch over the kidnappers and to make phone calls to the victims’ relatives to bring the ransom. The police operatives stormed our hideout and we escaped from the scene. But from where we hid, we were able to see how they (police operatives) rescued the victims. They removed the rope with which we tied them.”
The man who hails from Ndegwo in Owerri West L.G.A of Imo State, further revealed that since 2017 he has been in hiding. To make ends meet, however, he took to Indian hemp-selling. “Three years later, in January 2020 my gang members came out for another kidnap of victims and they encountered the anti-kidnapping operatives,” he recounted. “Two of them were shot dead while one of them, Princewill Ugochukwu, is currently in Owerri prison.
“I have to re-group with another gang. But while we were planning to carry out another operation in Imo State on April 23, 2020, the anti-kidnapping operatives stormed our hideout at Ogbaku and arrested me. They recovered AK-47 and pump action rifles and 75 rounds of ammunitions from me. Whenever we collected a ransom, my gang members would always bring my own share to me. I have kidnapped over 10 victims and raped female victims in our custody after they paid ransom.”
Ndubuisi’s criminal life and career
The other notorious gang-leader, Ndubuisi, was said be in the habit of wearing army uniform. Along with three gang members, they carried out kidnap of four victims. Afterward, they took them to their hideout. The anti-kidnapping commander Nwaiwu, said he and his operatives arrested the suspect on May 14, 2020 while they were on surveillance patrol at Naze Timber Market in Owerri, North L.G.A.
Creating a window into his life history and criminal career, Ndubuisi told Saturday Sun: “I hail from Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State. It was one of my friends and my gang member that gave me the Army uniform. This prompted me to wear it to carry out kidnap of victims in Owerri North. We kidnapped five victims and collected from them millions of naira as ransom. Nobody ever suspected me to be a kidnapper in my environment.
They thought that I was a soldier. I used to wear the Army uniform always. Whenever my friends asked me, I would reply that I was on six months study leave. Nobody knew that I am a kidnapper. It was when the police operatives came to search my house that the whole community became shocked to discover that I am not a soldier. I am just an impersonator and a kidnapper by profession. My other gang members have escaped.”
Akinmoyede stated that the suspects will soon be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.