By Julius Oweh
One of the ills plaguing Nigeria is the scourge of kidnapping. There are some criminal elements in the society that kidnap the very rich and famous for ransom. Any reader of newspapers in the country must be familiar with the daredevil kidnappers terrorising every one under the veneer of kidnapping including school children in Lagos State and other parts of the country. However, the Nigerian police under the leadership of Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris are working round the clock to bring such culprits to book. The task may be daunting but with cast determination of the police men and women and active collaboration of the members of the public as regards the provision of credible information, Nigerians and residents in the country may heave a sigh of relief.
And recently, the efforts of the police paid off with the capture of a billionaire kidnapper, Evans whose real names are Chukwudebem Onwuamadike in Lagos. This is the result of the Intelligence Response Team of the IG. According to police source, the capture of Evans came after more than five years of the infamous kidnapper evading police radar. It was the information got from the public that made the police to trace him to his Magodo mansion and he was eventually caged. In his house, four AK47 rifles were found and 50 magazines. This is certainly good news for Nigerians and an affirmation of the hard work of the police. It would be recalled that IG Ibrahim Idris placed a N30 million bounty on his head for anyone that will give useful information to his arrest.
Evans according to police sources was responsible for many high profile kidnapping in the south west, south south and eastern parts of the country. Evans is said to have collected billions of Naira as ransom from his victims including expatriates, business moguls and public office holders. The notorious criminal is so rich that he wears a wristwatch valued at 170,000 dollars and two phones at 6,00 dollars each. He has many properties in Lagos and Ghana.
Indeed the crafty kidnapper while singing like a bird in police net said that he collected dollars from his victims to distinguish from other kidnappers and that for about four times, he collected one million dollars each from the victims. Listen to the confession of Evans: ‘I can‘t figure how much I have collected so far or how many people I have kidnapped but I have kidnapped up to 10 since 2015. I chose to collect ransom in dollars to be different. I have collected as ransom one million dollars. I work in two groups. A team moves with me to kidnap victims while we hand over to the other team that takes the victim to the hideout. I also do drug business that enabled me to buy my property.‘
The police should not rest on their oars and should continue to spread the dragnet to get the other kidnappers especially those terrorising Lagos secondary schools. The police cannot work alone and needs the support of the state government and the public. In some states, buildings of kidnappers and where kidnapped victims are kept are destroyed. This is a good policy but the law should be strengthened so that kidnapping does not look attractive to its practitioners. The police have once more demonstrated that given the right equipment, manpower and motivation, criminals especially kidnappers can be kept at bay. More of such efforts are needed from Idris Ibrahim and his men.
*Oweh is resident in Lagos