They call it self-kidnap. Many criminal-minded people are totally sold to the idea. But sometimes it works but most times it doesn’t.
These days, if you are asking for some money from any of your relations, say spouse, brother, sister, sibling, cousin, nephew, etc and they refuse to give you, all that you need to do is to arrange with some shady characters to kidnap you and demand some ransom from the person you were asking some financial help from, and hopefully, the money or even an amount greater than what you were requesting for would materialise from nowhere, in a jiffy.
They call it self-kidnap. Many criminal-minded people are totally sold to the idea. But sometimes it works but most times it doesn’t. As Chibueze Apata, an Anambra-based businessman who recently faked his own kidnap to extort some money from members of his family, in an attempt to pay his debt, according to his confession, found out, whenever the self-kidnap deal is going to fall through, it takes on the toga of Murphy’s law: whatever will go wrong is bound to do so no matter how hard you try to make it not to go wrong.
How the police got the truth
He was arrested by operatives of Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) at his hideout where he was waiting for his family members to pay for his ransom. According to police source, as soon as his Uncle who is based in Abuja heard that he was “kidnapped”, he petitioned the IGP who ordered the IRT to investigate.
Detectives assigned to the case discovered that while the “kidnappers” were busy negotiating with the family with an unknown number, his wife, Nkiru, received several calls through her husband’s phone number. She was arrested and immediately confessed to the police that it was a scam. She led the police to arrest her husband. At the police station, Chibueze aged 29, told the police that arranging his own kidnap was the only way to convince his family to give him money he wanted to use to settle debts.
How the plot was hatched
“After my secondary school, I had no interest in going further with my education,” he told Saturday Sun by way of explaining how he got into the unholy act. “I wanted to be a successful businessman like some of my family members. I decided to join my mother in buying and selling of women underwear. After four years, I was able to open my own shop with the little money my mother gave me. I have been in that line of business for eight years and it was the money that I made from the business that I used to sponsor my marriage.
“I married a jobless girl and in attempt to keep her busy I also sent her to learn Catering. The money I spent in all these was too much that it affected my business. I started buying goods on credit and still could not pay them back when the goods were sold. I became heavily indebted. On December 6, 2018, I went to the market and discovered that it was closed due to a political rally. I owe a lot of people and cannot afford not to sell market for a day. When I came back, I decided on my own to fake my kidnap. I called my wife and told her that this was the only way out since my family members refused to help me pay up my debt.”
With the co-operation of his wife, Chibueze left Onitsha where they were residing and relocated to another town. “I went to Otuocha Local Government in Anambra and rented a room for three months. I paid N1500 as the rent for the three months. I waited for some days before I asked my wife to announce to my family that I was missing. I went to the nearest shrine and met one Nwachukwu, who claims to be the native doctor in charge. I explained the deal to him and asked him to join me and be the one to negotiate with my family. He refused and said that I will spoil his name. To further convince him, I entered his shrine and took an oath of secrecy and he still refused.
“But the next day, he came to where I was staying and said that he was willing to work for me. He told me that he consulted the gods and they asked him to work for me that it will be a huge success. We then called my mother and told her to bring the sum of eight million if she wanted to see her son again. He kept negotiating with her until my family agreed to raise the sum of N4 million. I was happy but made a grave mistake. Because I wanted to know if the money had been sent I called my wife.
“On December 19, I received a call from a strange number and tried to call back. I called my wife and discovered that her number was switched off. I later summoned courage and called my elder brother pretending that the kidnappers allowed me to talk with him. He told me that police has arrested my wife and that my mother fell seriously sick because of my disappearance. I love my mother so much especially when I learnt the she is the one running around to raise money for my release. I was still planning to go home when two policemen came and arrested me. I am in heavy debt and my shop rent has expired. I have begged my mother and siblings for money but they all kept saying that they are broke. As soon as they heard that I was kidnapped they all started looking for money. I have returned the entire money that they gave for my ransom,” he said.
Wife confesses her role in the plot
His wife, Nkiru, confirmed that her husband owes a lot of people and the debtors were threatening to arrest him if he failed to pay. “My husband has high blood pressure because of all the people that he is owing. One man in Lagos State supplied him goods on credit, he has sold all the clothes and yet he cannot raise money to pay the man. He made efforts to plead with his rich Uncles and brothers to help him out but they refused. He then hatched the plan and told me that this is the only way out. I love my husband and I was ready to do anything to help him.
“On the agreed day, he left and just like he predicted his family members started raising money to pay as ransom. The matter was also reported to the nearest police station. We never knew that his rich uncle who is based in Abuja will report the matter over there. My husband kept calling me to know if his family was co-operating and I kept updating him, till on December 17, when policemen from Abuja came and arrested me. They accused me of kidnapping my husband; I have no choice but to tell them the truth.”