By Tony Edike
ENUGU — Kidnapping for ransom which has remained the quickest means of making money among criminals within the South-East zone has taken a new dimension as some dubious people now hide under the evil practice to dupe their wealthy relations.
One Samuel Ani, a casket (coffin) dealer from Ugwuaji community in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State was arrested by operatives of Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Enugu State Police Command, weekend, for attempting to dupe his brothers of N2 million under the guise that he was abducted by kidnappers.
Ani, whose coffin shop is at Garki, Awkunanaw area of Enugu, allegedly hid himself in a bush behind his shop for six days and alerted his brothers that he was in a kidnappers’ den.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the arrest, yesterday, said the suspect “never knew that his sin shall find him.”
He said: “Samuel Ani hid himself in a bush behind his shop for six days from where he was making phone calls to his two younger brothers in a very convincing tone that he had been abducted and that N2 million was required to get him out of the kidnappers’ den or else he would be killed.
”Following this, the case was reported to the state police command who mobilised its anti-kidnapping unit to rescue the victim. When Samuel intensified his call that the purported kidnappers were on the verge of killing him if his people could not bring the ransom, he later reduced the ransom to N1.2 million.
“Some money was then deposited into the account number provided by the purported kidnappers and a certain girl who went to cash the initial N100,000 sent through one of the new generation banks around Agbani Road on August 29, 2013 was arrested by the operatives.
”The girl was identified as one Oluchi Faith Ogbu from Akpugo in Nkanu West Local Government Area of the state and a fiancee to Samuel Ani.
“When interrogated, Oluchi Faith Ogbu said that the account belongs to her but was instructed by Samuel to supply the account number so that his brothers can pay the ransom via the account and that she was to cash it as soon as she receives alert of the payment and bring it to him.”
The police spokesman said Oluchi’s confession, however, led to the arrest of Samuel, who said he was not kidnapped but maintained that he kidnapped himself so that his wealthy younger brothers could pay ransom which he would use to sort out his business dealings.
He said apart from the trick he adopted, nothing would make his brothers give him any monetary assistance even though he regretted his actions.
Ani admitted that the step he took was not good in the sight of God, man or law and pleaded for forgiveness.
He said he is a father of five children but never revealed to Oluchi that he was married as he had promised to marry her.
Asked if he was not making ends meet from the construction and sale of coffins, Ani said he made low sales, and that he decided to trick the brothers to get money from them to address his immediate challenges which required huge amount of money.
Amaraizu said Oluchi and Ani had been detained while investigations into the ugly incident had commenced.