Gang receives ransom only in dollars
By Evelyn Usman
UMUAHIA—A new kidnap syndicate which says it collects its ransom only in American Dollars has been smashed by operatives of the Inspector- General of Police Intelligence Response Team, in Abia State, with the arrest of five suspected members of its gang.
During preliminary investigation, the suspects confessed to be responsible for the abduction of an 80-year-old man , Mr Felix Ogbonna on November 26, 2017, in Abia State. The octogenarian was subsequently released after ransom was paid.
They also confessed to have formed the gang this month in Abia State, disclosing that so far, three persons had been abducted with N7.5 million collected as ransom for the release of the victims.
The gang’s second -in-command, Samuel Chikaodi James , whose operational name is Chiboy , 29, told operatives that his share from the ransom paid for the last victim was N3 million, adding that their targets were mainly those driving in posh cars.
The 29-year-old suspect further disclosed that his role during abduction of victims was to drive the gang’s operations vehicle.
He also said : “ After driving victims in our Lexus jeep from the kidnap point to our hideout which is located inside the bush, the next line of action will be to collect the telephone contacts of their relatives. I negotiate with victims’ relatives.
“ All the money we received was in foreign currency because we want to avoid bulky cash. I got N3 million from the ransom paid for our last victim’s release . We started the job this November and we have kidnapped only three persons. We collected N250,000, N2 million and N5.5 million respectively “.
Another suspected member of the gang, Justice Iriah (23), with the operational name Mopol , said, “ I am from Edo state. I am one of those armed whenever we were going to kidnap . My role is to drag victims out of their cars, into ours and to secure them from the point of kidnap to our den. I received N300,000 from the last operation.”
On his part, the third suspect, Ikechukwu Igwebuike a.k.a Anambra (‘ 22) said his role was same as the latter , adding that he also received N300,000 from the ransom paid for the release of the octogenarian.
As for the forth suspect, Chikachi Ubani(30), he said his role was to guard the strong room where captives were kept, pending when ransom would be paid. Ubani was arrested at the den when the IRT stormed the gang’s hideout.
The fifth suspect, Chineye Mark (45), a panel beater, said his role was to hide the gang’s operational vehicle in his workshop after operation, until another operation . He disclosed that his share from the ransom paid for the last victim was N150,000.
Police sources told Vanguard that : “Sequel to the kidnap of one Chief Felix Ogbonna , 80 years old, on November 26, 2017 and his subsequent release after ransom was paid; with technical support from TIU, operatives of IGP Intelligence Response Team IRT deployed by IGP Ibrahim Idris, swung into action and eventually arrested five gang members of the new kidnap syndicate”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, a Chief Superintendent of Police, who confirmed the arrest, disclosed that an AK47 Rifle, Magazine/ammunition, as well as the gang’s operational vehicles: one Lexus 300 jeep and a Toyota Sienna bus were recovered from the suspects. He stated that effort was still ongoing to arrest two fleeing members of the gang.