BY ALBERT AKPOR & EVELYN USMAN
LAGOS— The Police, yesterday, paraded suspected killers of a Lagos businessman, Mr. Odidi Nweze with the kingpin of the gang giving chilling details on why they killed their victim.
Commissioner of Police, CP Umar Manko, who paraded the suspects told anxious journalists that the eight suspects, including a woman, were behind series of kidnap incidents both in Lagos and the neighbouring states.
He said the suspects who used an uncompleted building located somewhere in Okota, Lagos, as their hideout were in the habit of trailing their victim(s) to an obscure place, abduct, blindfold and drive them to their hideout in Okota from where they demand for ransom.
The police boss who linked the kidnapers to the abduction and murder of Odidi Nweze, however, absolved the Oxpharm Specialties Ltd, Satellite Town, the pharmaceutical store where it was reported that the deceased was kidnapped before his subsequent murder.
A visibly elated Manko tongue-lashed critics of the command saying, “Those who are in the habit of criticizing the police can now see that we are not sleeping. We are not saying don’t criticise, but it should be objective. It is my determination that we will never rest on our oars until peace returns to the state.”
He added: “I am happy to announce to you that we have been able to smash a syndicate of kidnappers who have been linked to series of kidnap incidents in the state. They are about eight of them including a woman. The ring leader has been arrested and he gave his name as Kelvin Emenike 31, who lives in Port Harcourt.
“He normally comes to Lagos for his ‘business transaction’ after which he travels back to Port Harcourt; but we have been able to track him back to Lagos for the same ‘business proposal’ and that ‘business proposal’ is what you are now seeing. This group also includes a woman who manages their ransom and she is also responsible for disbursing the funds to the gang members.
“In possession of these hoodlums were one AK 49 assault riffle with 78 7.6mm ammunition, five magazines, one Toyota pick-up van, one Toyota Matrix vehicle and one Boxer motor cycle. With these, they abduct their victims, blind fold them and take them to their hideout, an uncompleted building somewhere in Okota; and when they finish with their victims, they pack them in their respective hideouts.
Unfortunately or fortunately too, we have a case of murder of a clearing agent sometime last month. The man according to information available to us, was kidnapped but he tried to fight back and he was fatally shot and he died. These suspects have also confessed to us that they were the one who perpetrated the crime.
Manko added: “Again, let me get one thing cleared: the victim, Odid Nweze, according to our investigation may have been going to buy some drugs incidentally at the branch of a pharmacy where killers of Cynthia Osokogu bought their drugs when he was kidnapped. The owner of the medicine store may not have knowledge of such dastardly act, it was just coincidental that some criminals were out to perpetrate their act.”
Giving details on why they killed Odidi Nweze, kingpin of the gang, Klevin Emenike said, the death of their victim was purely in self defence. He said: “Actually we did not mean to kill him, all we were doing was to make money. Although the parents later paid N1.2m out of the money we demanded, but we killed him even before they paid the money. What happened was that when he was kidnapped at Satellite, as we were going to Okota he attempted to disarm one of us so I grabbed the gun and fired him pointblank. He later bled to death because we could not take him to the hospital.”
In another development, operatives of the Marine Police attached to Badagry division in Lagos, have arrested two suspected sea pirates who specialized in attacking oil vessels on the nation’s water and selling the product in Benin Republic.
Recovered from the suspects’ hideout in Padi-beach around Topo area of Badagry were their weapons which included two AK 47 riffles, four AK 47 magazines with fifty seven rounds of live ammunition; four pump action guns with one hundred and four rounds of live cartridges, two single barrel guns, charms and amulets. Also recovered were men’s underwear, two knives, a Ventolin inhaler, one Nokia handset and a visa phone which were all buried in the sand.
The suspects, Momanyon Fiapanu and Nunayon Yanagbon, both Ghanians, according to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Umar Manko, “specialised in hijacking diesel and other petroleum products in the waterways of Nigeria, Benin Republic and Ghana.”
However, the suspects who claimed to be fishermen and have their abode at the beach, denied police claim, saying they recovered weapons belonging to one Setty, believed to be leader of the sea robbers. However, during further interrogation, it was discovered that the said Setty who is on the run is a cousin to one of the suspects.
23-year-old Mumanyon who was paraded alongside other suspects, yesterday, said his cousin and other unidentified persons from the Niger Delta region were perpetrators of the attacks on oil tanks on the sea. He further stated that at the end of an operation,the group would bury the weapons inside the sand pending when they would be going for another operation.
Also paraded, was one Samuel Johnson who had been parading himself as a soldier with the Nigerian Army. Recovered from him were three police walkie -talkie radios, ten pairs of military uniform, four pairs of boots and six military belts.