By Chidi Nkwopara, Owerri
Imo State Command of the State Security Service (SSS) has arrested three persons, who claim to be students of Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri, at the point of negotiating to collect money to assassinate a lady.
The State Director of SSS (SDS), Mr. Abudu S.K. Salami, gave the names of the suspects as Chibuike Theodore Diala from Ofekata, Orodo, Mbaitoli local council area of Imo State, as well as Emmanuel Chinonso Ikedinobi and Chukwudi Ikedinobi from Umuakaba, Uli, Anambra State.
â€œOn May 28, 2009, a pre-degree student of IMSU was kidnapped and held hostage at Umuerem Village in Mbaitoli local government area. Following his miraculous escape, the kidnappers vanished into thin air, leading to a manhunt for them by the Imo State Command of the SSSâ€, Salami said.
He also disclosed that the suspects, who have confessed to being cult members, have also given useful information on cultism network in IMSU, which is helping the Command to tackle the menace of cultism in the institution.
The SDS also said that the growing cases of kidnapping in the state has become very worrisome to his command, adding that students, who were supposed to be in the institution of higher learning have decided to convert themselves into kidnappers and hired assassins.
Narrating how the suspects were finally nabbed, Mr. Salami said: â€œThey targeted this pre_degree student when he appeared on campus for lectures. They tricked him that somebody wanted to see him. They took him off campus and moved him to Umuerem village.
One of them, who is the kingpin, took their victim to his fatherâ€™s house. Somewhere along the line, the boy saw a way of escape and he escaped.
â€œWhen he started running, they suspects also started running after him. The villagers assisted the boy to run away from danger. When this happened, the two kingpins among them vanished from the state and went to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to go and stay.
Following a serious manhunt, we were able to locate them and bring them back to Imo State.
â€œOn their return, they also went into a deal to carry out an assassination of a woman. The deal struck for N2 million but when they eventually came in a hotel in Owerri, where they were negotiating, they eventually arrived at N3 million.
Explaining the entire plot, the SDS said â€œthere was a woman whose husband had a girlfriend and the woman needed an assistant to eliminate the supposed girlfriend and they were at the point of doing just that when we pounced on themâ€.
TheÂ SDS opinedÂ that the suspects were not just ordinary kidnappers, they are also into assassinations, pointing out that they told the woman not to worry as they are used to that type of job, eliminating people.
â€œThey asked the woman to give them half of that money, stressing that after handing over the money, the woman should consider the job done. That was the point we pounced on them and arrested them, the SDS said.
Answering a question, Salami said that no weapon was recovered from the suspects, pointing out that in the assassination plot; they were principally negotiating before possibly bringing out their weapons of human destruction.
â€œWe are suspecting, and very strongly too, that this is not their first attempt because of the ease with which they went into the negotiation for the assassination. We also believe that they are also into kidnapping.
We are promising these miscreants that the law will definitely catch up with these kidnappers.
We are on the trail of these kidnappers and we believe that with the cooperation of the people, we will be on top of the situation. All we need is to be furnished with informationâ€, the SDS said.