Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team have arrested a 45-year-old panel beater, Chineye Mark, and four others for their involvement in kidnapping in Abia State.
Mark’s role, according to the police, was to keep operational vehicles used by the gang after each operation.
It was learnt that the IRT, led by ACP Abba Kyari, recovered an Ak-47 rifle, ammunition, and two operational vehicles – a Lexus 300 and a Toyota Sienna – from the suspects.
The other suspects were identified as Samuel Chikaodi, aka Chiboy, 29; Justice Iriah, aka Mopol, 23; Ikechukwu Igwebuike, aka Anambra, 22; and Chikachi Ubani, 30.
A source disclosed to our correspondent that the arrest followed the kidnap of an 80-year-old man, Chief Felix Ogbonna, on November 26, 2017, by the gunmen who collected millions of naira in ransom before releasing the octogenarian.
The source said, “With the technical support from the Tactical Intelligence Unit, the IRT swung into action on the orders of IG Ibrahim Idris and eventually arrested five members of the gang. The kidnappers confessed to involvement in three kidnappings in Abia State, collecting ransoms of N250,000, N1m and N5.5m respectively.”
A police officer said the suspects selected their targets based on the brand of vehicles they (the victims) used.
He said Chikaodi was the second in command of the gang and the driver of their operational vehicles.
“He also negotiated ransoms and did the collection. Out of the total ransoms, he got N3m.
“Iriah and Igwebuike were always armed; they secured the hostages in their vehicles and took them to a den. They received N300,000 each from the ransoms.
“Ubani was in charge of the detention camp where hostages were kept, while Mark, the panel beater, hid the operational vehicles in his workshop. He received N150,000. Effort is ongoing to arrest the two gang members at large and recover more arms,” the officer added.
The Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Moshood Jimoh, could not be reached for comments as calls to his line rang out. He had also yet to reply to a text message sent to him. Punch