Ms. Nkiruka Sylvanus
Yemi Akinsuyi and Dele Ogbodo
Operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) and the police have arrested a dismissed riot policeman, Ndidi Cletus, 30, and eight other suspects for kidnapping a Nollywood actress and aide to Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, Ms. Nkiruka Sylvanus, in December 2012.
The security agencies said the suspects who belonged to a notorious gang of kidnappers terrorised Imo State.
Cletus and others arrested in connection with the crime— Stanley Asonna; Aminu Musa (aka Boski); Mohammed Abubakar; Obinna Okwuolisa; Samson Onwuka (aka VIP) — were paraded at the SSS headquarters in Abuja yesterday while three others—Okoro Bassey, Chijoke Chima and Festus Ologeme— were in police custody.
Deputy Director, Public Relations and Media, SSS, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar, who paraded the suspects at a joint news conference with the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, explained that Cletus confessed that he enlisted in the police as a constable in 2004 under the name, Mathew Ofurum.
According to her, Cletus claimed that he was dismissed in 2007 because he was absent from duty for more than 21 days without permission due to ill-health.
"The suspect confessed that he is the leader of a notorious nine-man armed gang that kidnapped Sylvanus and the duo of Uche Okoli and Kenneth Okoli and several others, including one Okoro Okechukwu (aka Sonnic), an electrical materials dealer on October 15, 2012 who was subsequently released after the payment of N1.025 million ransom. The sum of N3.4 million was found on Cletus at the time of his arrest," Ogar stated.
She also explained that Cletus admitted to kidnapping a civil servant, Pauline Okwosha, who was held between October 14 and 23, 2012 and released after paying N3 million ransom.
The gang, according to Cletus' confession, also kidnapped a member of staff of Promasidor, Gloria Agbonghae, who was held between December 1 and 4, 2012 and released after the payment of N1.5 million.
Ogar said Asonna, 27, doubles as the gang's driver and guard for kidnapped victims at their Avu junction hideout while Musa who was initiated into the gang by Cletus confessed to participating in the abduction of Okechukwu and Sylvanus.
The SSS spokesperson said the six suspects would be handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution.
Mba faulted Cletus' account of his dismissal from the police, saying the gang leader deserted the force when he got to know that he was wanted for sundry criminal activities.