By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja—Nigerian Police Special Anti-Kidnapping Squad attached to the Inspector General of Police Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters, has arrested the kidnappers and killers of Reverend Father John Adeyi, Parish Priest of St. Bernard’s, Okpoga Parish, Diocese of Oturkpo, Benue State, who was abducted on April 24.
The arrest of the four-man kidnapping gang came just as the deputy leader of the gang, Saidu Abdullahi, who confessed to personally shooting the priest, told journalists that he killed the Reverend Father because it was “destined he will kill him that way.”
Other members of the gang paraded at Force Headquarters yesterday were Suleiman Gina, gang leader; Aliyu Garba and Hartuna Idi. They confessed to collecting N1.7 million ransom from the family of the cleric after the Church refused to pay.
Asked why they collected the ransom after killing the victim, Abdullahi said: “It was due to temptation.
“We killed him because the vigilantes of the town discovered where we were keeping the priest and they were coming in large numbers to free him. That was why we shot him and ran away.”
On the arrest of the kidnappers, Force Public Relations Officer, Donald Awunah, said: “Following the directive of the Inspector General of Police to fish out the culprits, the Intelligence Response Team swung into action.
“Between September 1 and 4, the four suspects were trailed and arrested at different locations in Bauchi, Enugu and Benue states.
“In the course of investigation, they confessed to being the gang responsible for the kidnap and gruesome murder of Reverend Father Adeyi and still collected a ransom of N1.7 million from his family.
“The deputy leader of the gang, Saidu Abdullahi, voluntarily told police that he fired the fatal shot that killed the Reverend Father.
“The suspects led police to a bush in Orokam area of Benue State, where three guns, used for the kidnap operation and murder of the Reverend Father were buried.
“The victim’s Nokia Lumia phone and another black Gicent M9 phone, used in demanding for the ransom, were recovered from the suspects.”
In the same vein, Deputy Governor of Benue State, Benson Agbowu, who witnessed the parade of the suspects, commended police for the marvellous job of apprehending the culprits, noting that the murder of Father Adeyi caused outrage not only in Benue State, the Catholic Church, and among the committee of Catholic Bishops in the country, but up to the Vatican City, because they made appeals for the release of the cleric.
Describing Father Adeyi as a gifted priest who catered for widows, the sick and the less privileged, the Deputy Governor said: “The state had to set up a committee of all security agencies with a mandate to look for and secure the release of the Reverend Father.”
On the present situation of crime in the state, Agbowu said: “In the last two years, crime became something else in Benue State. Taase, alias Ghana, one of the kingpins of crime even established an empire.
“When we came on board, our governor introduced a carrot-and-stick approach by calling on all criminals to surrender their arms and renounce crime for some sort of understanding.
“The said Ghana came out and over 700 other criminals said they were buying into the governor’s programme and over 800 arms were recovered. We thought we have made progress. But in recent times, the criminals are back and are making life unbearable for the people.
“Having used the carrot approach, we are now using the stick approach. We are now going after the criminals in their houses, dens and as a result of this, in the last few months, crime has reduced drastically.”