Obi seals 2 more houses allegedly used by kidnappers
By VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA—GOVERNOR Peter Obi yesterday sealed two more houses suspected to be hideouts for suspected kidnappers in the state, vowing to demolish the houses and convert the land to government use if investigations proved that kidnappers were using them.
The two houses, a one –storey mansion with a pent house under construction belonging to one Jude Asuzu, said to be residing in Lagos and a bungalow belonging to Patrick Okoye, said to be working in Awka, are located in Nri, Anaocha Local Government area of the state.
Last week, Obi sealed Arthur Garden Hotel and its two branches in Nkpor near Onitsha after security operatives arrested four suspected kidnappers and freed two victims.
The owner of the hotel was traced to Enugu where he was arrested.
Governor Obi, with his security aides, stormed the houses at Nri at about 10.30 am following security reports that suspected kidnappers were using them for their operations.
The owners of the houses were not available during the visit, but a security guard at the one-storey mansion, Mr. Barnabas Nasamu, who lives in the large compound with his wife and child, said his boss had not returned home for the past three months.
The parents of the owner of the house were also said to be residing in Enugu and had not come home for a long time.
Nasamu told reporters that before he was employed in January, he heard a report that some kidnappers were arrested and victims freed in the compound, saying there had not been any similar incident since he was employed.
A neighbour, who is a retired Railway staff and an uncle of the owner of the building, Chief Christian Obidike, who came into the compound on noticing the presence of the governor and security operatives, confirmed that kidnap suspects were arrested last year in the compound by a joint police and military team, but said that no such incident had repeated.
According to him, one of the kidnap suspects was identified as a trader occupying a shop close to the compound.
At the bungalow at Obeagu village, also in Nri, one of the cousins of the owner of the house and a native doctor, Mr. Sunday Okoye, said a nephew of the owner of the house; one Mr. Okwudili Okoye had been on the run since security operatives visited the house on the suspicion that he was involved in kidnapping.
Addressing newsmen, Obi said security reports confirmed that the two buildings were linked to kidnapping and announced that they would remain sealed in line with the policy of the state government on kidnapping.