It is no longer news that gunmen who kidnapped Chief Michael Obi, father of John Mikel Obi, Super Eagles’ midfielder and Chelsea star and demanded four billion US Dollars as ransom, were arrested recently in Anambra State. What is however news is that the kidnappers carried out the nefarious act in August, 2011 in Jos, Plateau State and were arrested in Anambra State in August 2014, three years later to pay dearly for their nefarious activities.
The same deadly gang was equally alleged to have kidnapped the Personal Assistant to the former Commissioner of Works in Anambra State, Mr Clement Ayika (Captain), Mr Pius Maduka, elder brother to Chief Cosmas Maduka of the Coscharis Group, among several others, on various dates and demanded various sums of money as ransom.
While some members of the gang had died during an exchange of gun fire with the police, others were charged to court, just like some of their houses were recently demolished by the state government.
Incidentally, they were arrested during the present regime of Governor Willie Obiano who has, from day one of his administration, sworn not to allow criminals operate in the state freely.
The arrest of over 21 kidnappers by the Police across the state in the last one month has thus sent warning signals to the hoodlums. A source explained that of this number now in Police net, 15 had been on the wanted list while two of the suspects are already being prosecuted in the courts. Government sources quoted Governor Obiano as saying that some of the high profile kidnap cases carried out by the suspects was that of the father of Super Eagles and Chelsea Football star, John Mikel Obi.
The governor was quoted to have disclosed this while reacting to the latest demolition exercise carried out in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area of the state for two consecutive days. A total of six bungalows belonging to kidnap king-pins and their collaborators in the Awkuzu area which were used as dens for several victims were pulled down.
An obviously elated Obiano was further quoted as saying that “the state is winning the war against criminals and has continued to empower Operation Kpochapu, the state joint security team, with necessary equipment and gadgets including over 60 security vehicles to aid their operations. Governor Obiano explained that the State Vigilante Service is being re-organized and the personnel retrained and screened to weed out bad eggs with a retired Commissioner of Police now in-charge. He stated that the drone and closed circuit television and other crime detection techniques and technology deployed across the state are yielding desired result, thus the criminals and miscreants have no hiding places anymore. The governor commended the security agencies and urged the citizens to continue to support the government to sustain the tempo.
The demolished buildings included a four-bed room bungalow at Umudunu Dusogu, Awkuzu built by one Izuchukwu who died in a gun battle with the Police on 9th February 2014; and another four bedroom bungalow with adjoining boys quarters owned by the Nwadike family of Obinetiti Dusogu village, Awkuzu, which was used as a den for kidnap victims by one of their daughters, one Baby Igbanugo Nwadike, now at large, and members of her gang.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, Mr. Finihan Adeboye who spoke on the development, said that the buildings were used severally for incarceration of kidnap victims who were compelled to pay millions of Naira to secure their freedom. He confirmed that one of the suspects confessed that over N20million was realized as ransom from the house at Umudunu, while over N80 million was collected from several victims kept at the Obinetiti, Awkuzu, kidnap den. DCP Adeboye explained that the demolition exercise is in keeping with the provisions of the law and the directive of Governor Willie Obiano, who has revoked the rights of occupancy of the building and land.
According to DCP Finihan Adeboye, “the exercise is a confirmation of the resolve of the state governor and the entire security agencies that the war against crime and all forms of criminality is a continuous one, which will not be stopped until the state is rid of all forms of criminality.”
Some residents of the area expressed joy that the governor is carrying the war against kidnappers to all nooks and crannies of the state and praised him for sustaining the war against criminals in Anambra State.