- I embarked on crime to expand my church, charity works, says pastor
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Police operatives attached to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the office of the Inspector-General of Police, yesterday arrested 35 suspects across the country for their active involvement and participation in series of kidnapping, armed robbery and other heinous crimes across the country.
Force PRO and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr. Frank Mba, said the arrest was sequel to the unrelenting efforts by the force to rid the country of heinous criminals and to get justice for victims.
One of the suspects, pastor Adetokumbo Adenopo, 52, who is the Founder and General Overseer of New Life Ministry, Lukosi, in Shagamu Area of Ogun State and three other members of his criminal gang namely; Chigozie Williams 22, native of Umuahia North, Abia State; Ugoji Linus, 30, native of Ezinifite in Imo State and Emmanuel Chris Ani, 27, native of Aniri in Enugu State, were all responsible for the kidnap for ransom of one Jonathan Ekpo 35, from Benue State.
Curiously, the pastor told the police operatives that he embarked on the crime for the expansion of his church and charity works.
The victim, an employee of a logistic company was kidnapped on July, 17, 2020 while on official duty to deliver goods in Shagamu, Ogun State.
The victim was kept in an underground cabin inside the pastor’s church building in Ogijo town, Ogun State by his abductors who demanded the payment of N20 million ransom as condition for his release.
He was subsequently rescued unhurt nine days after and reunited with his family by the police.
Similarly, the police also arrested one Udodiri Bright aka Ability 30, a native of Osuachara Village, Isiala Mbano LGA of Imo State and three others – Ekwuru Shadrack aka Escobar 26, native of Arondizuogu village in Okigwe LGA of Imo State, Chimerie Igwe aka 4real 30, native of Umucheke Village in Orlu LGA of Imo State and Chibuike Sunday, 28, from Arondizuogu of Imo State.
They were arrested on July, 5, 2020 for the abduction and killing of a Nigerian US Soldier, Chuks Okebata who came into Nigeria for holidays in his home town, Okigwe, Imo State in
The suspects, one of the foremost kidnapping groups terrorising the South-eastern part of the country were arrested 31 months after, following intensive manhunt by the police team.
The police team also arrested a nine-man trans-boundary armed robbery and car snatching syndicate led by one Yakubu Hayatu, 30, from Borno State.
Members of the gang include Adamu Awalu 28, from Kano State, Abdulrahman Yakubu, 23 from Zaria, Yususf Adamu, 22 from Zaria, Kamal Japhet 22 from Katsina, Abubakar Samaila, 20 from Zaria, Muhammadu Abdulahi, 20 from Zaria, Yahaya Mohammed, 18 from Kaduna State, and Ibrahim Abubakar, 21 from Kwara State.
Investigations revealed that the syndicate has snatched over 60 exotic cars at gunpoint and killed two policemen.
They used anti-tracker devices to evade arrest and deliver the vehicles to one Alhaji Garba in Maradi, Niger Republic. Eighteen vehicles were recovered by the police team.
Mba said the team was working with the INTERPOL to apprehend Alhaji Garba and to recover the remaining vehicles.
Exhibits recovered include four Ak47 rifles, one FMC rifle, one pump action gun, two double barrel guns, one baretta pistol, four AK47 magazine, six cartridges, 378 Rounds of live ammunition, one network jammer (anti-tracker device), among others.
Mba said the suspects would be charged to court on conclusion of investigations.