…To raise bail money for kingpin
By OLAKUNLE OLAFIOYE
THE Special Intelligence Response Team put in place by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has broken an abduction ring established by the alleged notorious and ruthless kidnapper, Vampire, while he was being held in custody in Owerri Prison, Imo State, resulting in the arrest of a prison warder he recruited into the gang and another member, called Nnamdi.
The suspect, Chukwuma Agim, 27, Sunday Sun gathered, was arrested along side three other members of the gang few days after a successful operation. The other suspects arrested with Agim are Joseph Chiaotu, aka Ejima 21, Chinonso Anozie, 25 and Uzodinma Chukwudi 29.
Giving account of how he got into the kidnapping gang, Chukwuma who joined the Nigeria Prisons Service in November 2015 said Vampire and another member of his gang, Nnamdi, introduced him to the members of their gang from their prison custody in Owerri.
“Early this year I met one Nnamdi, who was detained in cell 2 in ‘I Ward’, the same cell Vampire was kept. He approached me behind the food store, and asked if I could help get him a phone. He offered me N3,000 but I told him that I could not do that. He kept putting pressure on me but I refused so he went to meet another officer, who got the phone for him.
“He approached me again, but this time along with Vampire. They told me that they wanted us to be friends. We sat behind the food store and they told me several stories about their escapades in kidnapping and I found it attractive. They told me that they were rich people and they normally visited several popular bars in major towns within the South east and South south states, and when they observed rich people leaving the bar, they would go after them and kidnap them.
“At the end of our conversation, they wrote a phone number on a piece of paper and asked that I should call the person. I didn’t save the number because we don’t use phones in the prison. They told me that they wanted me to call the number and the person would link me to one Chiboy, aka Eze Ekudeley. They told me that Chiboy was a big kidnapper.
“When I called the person, he identified himself as Ejima and I told him that I got his number from Nnamdi from prison and that he wanted us to link up with Chiboy who could help us set up a gang because, according to Nnamdi, Chiboy had guns, experience and a vehicle to make the job easy.
“Nnamdi also gave me the number of one Chukwudi Uzodinma. I called him as well and I met the two of them at Control roundabout in Owerri and we agreed that we should meet with Chiboy and when we did, he took us to a hotel in Elele, Rivers State, bought us drinks and asked if we had been involved in kidnapping before but we said no. He laughed at us and called us amateurs and told us that he was going to Owerri the next day.
Continuing the tale, Agim said: “The next day he called us and said he was going to pick somebody at Mbaise Road. He had someone who was giving him information. But the abduction did not succeed. He later called us that he was coming to Owerri, and we met on Port Harcourt Road. We did not know that he had kidnapped somebody. He was driving a Nissan Pathfinder SUV. He normally worked with a policeman and when they picked me up at Avu junction, I saw the victim inside the vehicle, a policeman was pointing a gun at the victim, a woman, and he asked me to go out of the vehicle, Ejima and Bright entered the vehicle.
“The next day, he called me and asked me to buy pure water, canned malt and bread. The woman wasn’t their main target, but she was trailed to her house and abducted. Nnamdi instructed me to look after the woman in the bush.
“I borrowed money from a friend and used it to buy food items for the woman. I gave the food to Uzodinma to give to the woman. I learnt that the woman stayed for two days. I was given N100,000 after the ransom of N1.1million was collected.
“I bought clothes, settled the debt I was owing and fixed my car. Chiboy told me not to bother about giving Vampire and Nnamdi who were still in custody part of my share because according to him, he knew how to send their own share of the ransom to them.
“But few days after that operation, the police arrested me. It was Ejima who led them to me. I regret getting myself into this mess,” Chukwuma lamented.
Reliable police source informed Sunday Sun reporter that efforts are on to apprehend the leader of the gang and other members who are still at large.