By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRIâ€”Imo State Police Command has admitted that the fire power of the armed hoodlums that kidnapped Mrs. Stella Odimegwu, the wife of the erstwhile Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Dr. Festus Odimegwu, was â€œsuperior to that of the three armed mobile policemen attached to the womanâ€.
The Command also confirmed that the kidnapped womanâ€™s driver, who was sitting in the car at the time of the attack was brought out of the vehicle and shot at close range.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aloysius Okorie, who made these disclosure, while fielding questions on why the Command failed again to stop the rampaging cross-border hoodlums.
â€œI admit that the Commandâ€™s reaction time was a little late but we rose to the challenge. The three mobile policemen tried their best but the hoodlumsâ€™ firepower was overwhelmingâ€, Okorie said.
Saying that â€œit must have taken somebody who knows the terrain very well to escape from the scene of crimeâ€, the Imo police boss, added that his Command is currently working closely with its sister commands.
Giving an account of how the woman was kidnapped, Mr. Okorie said that the 9am Mass at Saint Maryâ€™s Catholic Church, Asa Ubirielem, Orsu Local Government Area of the state, which Mrs. Odimegwu attended, was still on when the hoodlums struck.
â€œShe heard gunshots within the church premises and immediately sensed that the hoodlums were after her. She escaped into the sacristy and wanted to scale through the wall at the back of the church but was stopped by somebody who clearly identified her as Mrs. Odimegwuâ€, the CP said.
Racalled, the immidiate past Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Dr. Festus Odimegwu, was, Sunday morning shocked beyond description, as dare devil hoodlums kidnapped his wife, Stella Chinwe Odimegwu.
Vanguard investigations revealed that the hoodlums stormed the Saint Maryâ€™s Catholic Church, Assa Ubirielem, Orsu local council area of Imo State, where Mrs. Odimegwu was worshipping and kidnapped her. At press time she remained incommunicado.
It was further gathered that Mrs. Odimegwu was apparently unaware that she was being closely trailed by the rampaging gang to the church where she was eventually cornered after mass and kidnapped.
A villager told Vanguard: â€œHer driver had hardly driven a few metres from where she entered her vehicle when a group of gunmen, apparently hanging around the church premises, shot and killed the driver on the spot.â€
The villager added that before Mrs. Odimegwu could understand what was playing out, the hoodlums whisked her away at gunpoint to a yet-to-be identified location.
Spirited efforts made by Vanguard to reach the womanâ€™s husband, Dr. Odimegwu proved abortive, but his close relations said he was not only angry with the development but looked totally downcast.
Similarly, the Imo State Police Commandâ€™s Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Linus Nwaiwu, could not be reached on his mobile phone.