By Wole Masadomi,Minna
Thursday July 14, 2011 was just like any other day to Mrs. Chinwe Ofomah, a business woman in Suleja, Niger state. On the fateful day, she was kidnapped in front of her residence along Suleiman Barau road, Suleja on her way to her shop. The operation was swift. It was just like the common movie but only that the operation was real.
She was dragged out of her Sienna space bus in front of her House after being blocked by a Volkswagen Golf car and bundled into the waiting Golf car and whisked away into captivity. Mrs. Ofomah was said to have spent 10 days in captivity during which negotiation was on for N200m ransom between the kidnappers and her husband.
Addressing Journalists in his office in Minna yesterday, the state Director of security, Dr. Larry Obiagwu said husband of the victim, James Ofomah after negotiation, paid a ransom of N2.2m as first installment on the 24th of July 2011 and another N1m on the 27th of the same month to a commercial bank in Enugu.
He said SSS operatives, after being informed, rose to the challenge and kick started its trade craft which paved way for the arrest of four of the six- man syndicate in Enugu, Bwari near Abuja and in Suleja town. The suspects are Kingsley Akpan a.k.a Sunday, Adejo Achama a.k.a Ojo Joseph, Adams Awodi and Charles Okweri a.k.a Captain Egbo.
According to Dr. Obiagwu, “Kingsley Akpan who was regarded as the ring leader was said to have monitored and directed the operation and also pertook and perfected in the negotiation for the ransom.
He was also said to have presided over the sharing of the payment of the N2.2m initially paid where he personally got the sum of N300, 000. Greed, selfishness and covetousness eventually took over his sense of reasoning when the second installment of N1m was eventually paid into the same account.
He cornered the entire N1m hoping that all loop holes have been perfected and blocked but he was unfortunate that the issue eventually blew into the open which led to a disagreement between him and members of the gang.
Before the leakage, Kingsley had already spent N600,000 out of the proceeds to purchase a Toyota Camry 1993 Model with registration No Enugu CH926ENU.
Adejo Achoma is said to be the financier and sponsor of the kidnap operation and whose Volkswagon Golf car with registration No Kogi AQ167LKJ was used for the operation.
He released funds for securing a rented apartment where the victim was kept hostage for about 10days and for this singular role and other roles played in negotiating for the ransom, he was paid N450,000 as his own share.
“For Adams Awodi, he was also given N300,000 for his efforts for participating in the operation especially for being in the car on the day of the operation and most especially, for scouting for a suitable apartment where the victim was kept.
And for Charles Okweri who was also given N300,000, he was said to have blocked the victim with the Golf car, dragged her out of her car and shot into the air to scare passers bye while the victim was being whisked to an unknown destination later discovered to be along Kaduna Suleja road.
However, while the four already held are paying the heavy price for their deeds, two others held by the SSS could be regarded as victims of circumstance as their Bank Accounts were unknowingly used for the deposit of the two installments of N2.2m and later N1m.
They are Ogbodu Tochukwu and Jude Ogbochukwu. Ogbodu is said to be a childhood friend of Kingsley Akpan who gave his Bank Account to the suspect after being approached for the favor unknown to him where and what the money was meant for.
So also is Jude Ogbochukwu whose Account was used for the deposit of the N1m second installment after being told that the money was a transaction out of a land speculation business in Abuja which needed to be paid into a bank account.”
Dr. Obiagwu disclosed that all the suspects, after interrogation, admitted to have being involved in the kidnapping and conspiracy pointing out that they will be arraigned shortly in court. He assured that the two other suspects who are at large are being trailed and will be brought to book soonest. “They are said to be in possession of the weapon used for the operation. “
One of the suspects and the “Director of operation and Negotiator for the Ransom”, Kingsley Akpan while answering questions from our crime correspondent linked his involvement in the crime to bad friends which he kept.
The 27-yr-old man said, “I am from a good family but I got involved by joining a bad gang of friends recently who lured me into this crime and I regret being involved.” He said his participation in the crime was his first time ever and described it as very unfortunate and therefore called on God to have mercy on him.