– How ex-student organised the kidnap of his teacher for N5m ransom, shocking details of other exploits by deadly kidnap gang
The menace of kidnapping in Delta State took a new twist in Kwale area with the recent abduction of a retired teacher by a kidnap gang that included her former student at the local grammar school. Three members of the six-man gang that pulled off the operation are now cooling their heels inside police cell and helping detectives to unravel their past crimes.
According to police sources, Olatunji Remi Emmanuel, 24, an old student of Utagbe Grammar School and his gang kidnapped his retired teacher, 60-year-old Josephine Olisedeme from her house in Utagbe-Ogbe, Kwale, on June 21, 2018, and took her into the forest where she was held hostage for nine days for N5 million ransom. After picking a cash sum of N530, 000 on June 29 at a pre-arranged location in Nteje community, Anambra State, the kidnappers, subsequently, released their hostage the next day, June 30, at Igbuku-Ashaka Road, Kwale.
Following the success of their first crime, the gang was emboldened to strike again. They subsequently grabbed 32-year-old Edighogbor Modiaga from his house for N10 million ransom. The victim’s mother paid an initial sum of N200, 000 into his account, which they withdrew with his ATM card. The gang also cashed in on the victim’s belongings––selling his phones, jewellery, and Lexus RX350 –– in addition to emptying his bank account with his ATM card.
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Instead of setting their hostage free, the abductors further demanded another N300, 000. They, however, came to a deadend: while on the way to take the ransom, their victim escaped and immediately reported himself to Obiaruku Police Station. Consequently, the two kidnappers who went for the ransom, Anthony Echezona, 32, and Ubah Daniel 32, were arrested by the police.
Victims’ harrowing stories
During an interaction with Saturday Sun, Olisademe relieved the kidnap nightmare. “I was kidnapped from my house on June 21. When they broke in, at first, I thought they were armed robbers, because they demanded gold and money. They took me to the parlour and I saw one of my sons tied up. We went into the room and they saw the second boy sleeping. They woke him up and tied him too. They searched the entire house for money and when they didn’t find any, they blindfolded me and pushed me into the boot of my car and drove away.
Later, I was asked to enter a canoe and we moved across a river and then we trekked for almost two hours into the forest.
“They threatened me with cutlass and gun and ordered me to call my husband to bring N5 million. One of the three kidnappers spoke Ukwuani dialect. After some days, they took me to the riverbank, put me in a canoe and paddled me to the other side along Igbuku/Ashaka Road. After the three kidnappers were arrested, I was able to identify one of them as an old student who I taught in JSS2 at Utagbe Grammar School before I retired.”
Edighogbor Modiaga, the second victim, also reconstructed the circumstance of his abduction. “I was around my house on July 8, when six young men walked towards me with a gun. They said they were SARS officers. By their appearance, I knew they were not. They started beating me. They demanded my mother’s car. After they took my wife’s phone, they forced me into my car and drove into the forest. I was blindfolded before they took me across the river. Later, they asked for my ATM Pin, which I gave to them. They went to the bank and withdrew my N60, 000. They came back and asked for my mother’s number. They called her and demanded N10 million.
“My mother told them she had N200, 000 which she sent into my account and they instantly withdrew it. After that, they still demanded N300, 000. But I managed to escape from the forest and ran to Obiaruku Police Station to lodge a complaint. In the meantime, they were still calling my mother for the ransom. My mother played along with them and when two of them came out of the forest, beside Technical School expressway, to collect the ransom, they were arrested by police officers on July 14.”
Sons of Barabbas
Olatunji Remi Emmanuel, one of the suspects, hails from Modakeke in Ile-Ife area of Osun State. He told Saturday Sun, the summary of their kidnap exploits. “I attended Utagbe Grammar School and Mrs Josephine Olisedeme was my teacher in JSS2. I went along with the gang to kidnap her. We took her to the forest. I was the one watching over her. I pre- tended not to recognize her. I heard our leader, Stanley, demanding N5 million. I had great plans for my share––I wanted to buy plumber tools and painting materials. Instead of the money arriving, police arrested two of our members. When I was arrested by detectives, my former teacher was able to identify me as her student in Utagbe Grammar School. I want my teacher to forgive me. I didn’t have the intention to kidnap her. I was shocked to discover that she was the target when our leader Stanley took us to her house.”
The second suspect, Anthony Echezone, a native of Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State, furnished Saturday Sun with further details. “It was Ubah who drove her to the forest where we kept her. Both of us went to collect the N500, 000 from the victim’s family at Nteje community in Anambra State. In the case of Modiaga who we kidnapped for N10 million, Ubah and I were at the collection point for the N300, 000 his mother was bringing to us when we were arrested at Technical School expressway, Kwale.”
Ubah Daniel, the third suspect, an indigene of Ndokwa Local Government, Delta State, is a jailbird of a sort. He gives a brief testimonial: “I was arrested by Delta State Police Command in 2012 for kidnapping,” he said. “I was arraigned at Ozoro High Court and remanded at Kwale Prison where I spent three years before I was granted bail. My case was adjourned till July 18, 2018.”
Despite having a pending case in court, he was fully involved in the double kidnapping carried out by the gang. “I was involved in the two kidnappings in Kwale,” he confessed. “I was the one who drove both victims to the forest. I accompanied Anthony Echezona to collect the first ransom of N530, 000 at Nteje community in Anambra State. We were on our way to collect another N300, 000 when we were arrested.”
Echezona was full of lamentations: “I have already jumped bail at the High Court in Ozoro. Now I have to prepare for another term in the prison. I joined them to kidnap, hoping I could make enough money to survive in life.”
The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Wale Abass, disclosed that the police are still in pursuit of the gang’s remaining three members. “We are also working to recover the money and the two cars they took from both victims,” he affirmed. According to him, a gold-coloured Honda Salon car with registration number KSF 420 CG which belonged to the retired teacher and a Lexus RX350 with plate number EPE 828 FA owned by the second victim, had both been disposed of by the gang. The suspects, according to Police Commissioner Mohammed Mustafa, will soon be charged to court.