By Evelyn Usman
PERHAPS apart from divine intervention, benevolence and generosity could best be said to have saved the life of a five year-old baby boy from being kidnapped for a ransom by those who had worked, lived with,Â andÂ benefitted immensely from his father.Â At the stalling revelation of the heinous plan, father of theÂ victim, Mr. Mike Nwaforchukwu could not believe his ears as he listened to his ex- staffâ€™s confession.
Little Ebube Ike Nwafor-chukwu was to be kidnapped and released alive onÂ the payment a whopping N15m ransom.
The plan ran into a hitch as the policeÂ Â rounded them up midway into the evil mission.
The plan to kidnapÂ Ebube, as gathered, was masterminded by Madueke Chionye, a 24-year-old factory worker who incidentally was a staff of Mr. Nwachukwu.Â Â Chionye in his confessional statement to the police, said he recruited four of his friends to execute the kidnap with a view to milking the father dry.Â The reason however, was nothing short of greed as the suspects later confessed to the police that the babyâ€™s father was an exceptionally kind and generous man.
Curiously, the person that blew open the sinister plan was the same boy that was positioned to pick Ebube up while waiting to catch his school bus.
In this interview with Crime Alert, Chionye in a rather remorseful voice revealed that the initial intention was to use the money to establish business of their respective choice until the bubble burst.Â Said he,Â Â â€œ I do not have any grudge against Mr Nwaforchukwu. None of us has any problem with him. I had lived with him before , so also isÂ one of us. Our plan was just to kidnap his son and thereafter, demand for a ransom of N15 million which we believed at the end of the bargain, we would arrive at something reasonable.
According to the plan, two of us were expected to come with a motorcycle which would be positioned in front of Mr Nwaforchukwuâ€™s building. Since we have stayed with him, we know the son usually comes out to wait for the school bus alone. We had intended to beckon on him to come and since he already knows us, he would have come without any trouble;Â and we would have taken him to a hide out in Amuwo Odofin area, from where calls wouldÂ be put across to his father, at the end of whichÂ we would have settled for how much to collect. HonestlyÂ we never had any intension to kill Ebube or do him any harm. We only wanted to use the money to establish ourselves because what we get from the factory work is nothing compared to what we actually wantâ€.
A day to the D-day, precisely on Thursday, March 18, 2010, the motorcycle with which they were toÂ pick the boy was ready. They had reportedly converged at the end of the dayâ€™s work in their hide out toÂ put finishing touch to their plan when all of a sudden, an argument apparently over the sharing formula of the unpaid and unseen ransom ensued
Just as tempers were rising, some intrudersÂ who were later discovered to be members of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) barged on them and subsequently subjected them to questioning to know the cause of their agitation.Â Their silence sparked up suspicion by the OPC men.Â Â As if that was not enough, some policemen from Apapa division stormed the scene and effected their arrest. Unknown to them, one of them who out of uncertainty,Â Â had gone to inform the police of their plan.
Continuing, Chionye stated, â€œ While we were still discussing, some neighbourhood security guards immediately came out of nowhere and started asking what we were doing there. While at the hideout, some of us had already made up our mind not to continue because for me in particular, I have already had a change of mindâ€
Police sources at Apapa told Crime Alert that one of the suspects had earlier revealed their plan to Ebubeâ€™s father who subsequently alerted the police. At first Ebubeâ€™s father was reportedly oblivious of who these kidnappers were until their arrest where he discovered to his chagrin that two of the suspects had once lived with him. Unable to contain the shock, he was quoted to have simply thanked God for foiling their attempt, wondering where he would have got such huge amount to effect the release of his son if they had successfully executed their plans.
Suspects live together and work in the same factory
Incidentally, the suspects seem to have certain things in common as investigation has shown.Â Â They all reside in the densely populated Ajegunle community and of course,Â work in the same factory in Amuwo Odofin area of the state. The four of them gave their respective names as:Â Ikechukwu Emeka 24,Â Nnanyere Chukwukezie 32,Â Tenumgwa YabuÂ 24,Â Â andÂ Okechukwu Aluhuru 27.
They are currently cooling their heels at the Maximum Security Prisons, Kirikiri town, Lagos, after being arraigned and charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap at an Apapa Magistrate Court last Monday.