- Smash kidnap syndicate in Enugu, free Ekweremadu’s relation, others
Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu and Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos
The police in Lagos have said they have arrested about 779 suspects from different raids for crimes ranging from armed robbery and cultism, as well as raids to criminal hideouts across the state.
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who made this disclosure yesterday during a parade at the command headquarters at Ikeja, also said the command recovered 27 guns, 64 rounds of various ammunition and 33 different vehicles.
He said among those arrested were 23 suspected armed robbers, two cultists and 754 other persons who were apprehended during raids of criminal hideouts in the past three weeks.
Owoseni also said three suspected armed robbers were killed during gun duels with the police, and several suspects arrested across Lagos in the last three weeks.
The police boss said out of the 754 persons raided, about 260 persons were released unconditionally after they were found to have legitimate source of livelihood.
Also, the Enugu State Police Command yesterday smashed a notorious syndicate who had terrorised Enugu metropolis in the past two weeks with specialty in kidnapping and robbing innocent citizens of their valuables.
The syndicate reportedly kidnapped a relation of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Mrs. Jane Ekweremadu, recently.
The gang made up of boys whose ages ranged from 16 and 21 years, was said to have masterminded recent kidnapping cases in Enugu metropolis and other parts of the state.
The first set of two suspects said to be led by Etim Amos, was said to be responsible for the kidnap of Mr. John Abugu, a lawyer at his residence, Mrs. Jane Ekweremadu at the agric bank junction, Mr. Brooks Okwara at his residence as well as Mrs. Sandra Onu along with her Honda CRV at the New Haven area of the state.
The second set of three suspects led by Nonso Onyebuchi of Obeagu Awgu were said to have kidnapped Elder Chime Edwin, a UK returnee of Obinagu Udi, among others.
The state Commissioner of Police, Elochukwu Nwodibo, told journalists yesterday that Etim Amos and co were gunned down in a carefully planned operation at a point along Itu- Calabar road Uyo when they tried to escape.
“The gang leader, Etim Amos, who had been posing as a soldier and had an army cap on the dashboard of any car he used to deceive people, was gunned down alongside another gang member, one Otunre Nse. The Honda CRV belonging to Mrs. Sandra Onu with which she was abducted was recovered from them. Also recovered were guns, the handsets of victims, fake army ID card bearing CPl. Etim Henry Amos,” he said.
According to him, the second group, which had Collins Chime of Obinagu Udi, who happened to be a relation of the victim they kidnapped and Chukwudi Azemene of Umuoduma Aba, Abia State, kidnapped Chime Edwin on the first week of the month and whisked him away in a Audi car with registration number No. DWK 929 PP which they had earlier robbed from the owner at Umunede, Delta State.
Nwodibo said the command would continue to do all in its ability to make the state safe for the residents, stressing that though a ransom was paid for the release of the victims, they were made behind the police.
One of the suspects, Collins, a jambite, had told journalists that he actually organised the kidnap of his uncle (Chime Edwin), after a botched attempt to kidnap a woman, who was their target.
He confessed that of the N500,000 they received as ransom to free his uncle, each of them got N100,000, while their ring leader, who is still at large got N200,000.