BY OKONKWO EZE
ONITSHA – The Anambra State police command Tuesday denied the speculations making the rounds within the Onitsha metropolis in the state that some suspected kidnappers nearly abducted Mrs. Jennifer Atiku, one of the wives of the former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar when she visited her father’s Onitsha residence at the weekend.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka (DSP) who made the denial in a telephone chat with newsmen Tuesday, said there was no iota of truth in the rumour which is spreading like a wild fire.
Chukwuemeka noted that the true position was that some armed hoodlums who were preparing for a robbery operation were driving past the residence of Jennifer’s father on Okosi Road, Inland Town, Onitsha and on seeing a police patrol van coming towards their direction, they thought they were being trailed by the police men and at once they opened fire on the policemen who quickly respondended before the hoodlums fled.
However some eye witnesses who spoke to newsmen on an anonymous condition, said the gunmen suspected to be kidnappers got an information that Atiku’s wife was in town and headed to her father’s house at Okosi Road to kidnap her, thinking that she only had few policemen guarding her.
The source gathered that on arrival at her father house, at about 8 p.m., the hoodlums first opened fire to see if they could over-power the few policemen guarding her, but when they discovered that there were retinue of policemen around her who returned fire for fire, the hoodlums fled.
It was further gathered that the hoodlums, still hell bent on hitting their target, relocated to Afor Igwe market area at Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area and allegedly succeeded in kidnapping somebody else whose identity was yet to be ascertained as at the time of filing this report yesterday.
Some prominent indigenes of the state who spoke on the ugly situation, said the re-emergence of kidnappers in the state was as a result of the shooting and killing of two police informants who retired from kidnap and voluntarily surrendered themselves and their arms to the appropriate authorities and pledged to serve as informants.
According to the source, the two informants whose names were given as Okechukwu Udezuka (a.k.a. Okey Rice) and the other one simply identified as Ebuka had after surrendering themselves and their arms, settled down to give the police the identities of their former gang members and how to locate them, which yielded many results before their untimely death.
But little did Okey Rice and Ebuka know that information had leaked to the hoodlums that they were now police informants and as a result, the hoodlums targeted and shot them dead at New Tarzan Junction, Nkpor along the Enugu/Onitsha expressway, barely a month ago.
Sources disclosed that the bereaved families are now waiting for the state government to provide funds for the funeral ceremonies of the deceased informants since government had always promised that informants would be rewarded handsomely, more so when the deceased had provided information that led to the arrests of many kidnappers, before their untimely death.