10th October, 2011
The Lagos State Police Command on Sunday afternoon paraded two suspected kidnappers, who attempted to force a transporter to part with N150miilion ransom for his freedom at Iyana Iba area of the state
Speaking during the parade held at the police headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos, the state Commissioner of Police, Yakubu Alkali, said that on 15 September this year, Godwin Okonkwo, a transporter and manufacturer, was intercepted by four armed kidnappers at Adebiyi Eribie Street, Ojo town, while returning home from work at about 7.30pm
According to Alkali, the kidnappers who came with a grey Xterra car with registration number RN 138 AAA ordered the transporter to enter their vehicles after shooting sporadically into the air to scare away people. They, thereafter, drove off with the man who then spent three weeks without food and water at the kidnappers’ enclave around Obawole area of Iba.
Speaking with our reporter, the suspects, identified as Azubuko Okafor, 31, and Kenneth Okoronkwo, 29, said they were forced by the devil and poverty to dabble into the act, promising to repent from their evil ways if they are set free.
Okoronkwo, who claimed to be an indigene of Arochukwu, but resides in Aba, Abia State admitted in tears that poverty forced him to contact the leader of the kidnapping gang known as Obinna, who told him point blank about the nature of his business, which he accepted.
He claimed that when he moved from Abia State to Lagos, he was made the collector of money after negotiations have been concluded by the kidnappers and the victims.
However, Okafor denied knowledge of the criminal business. Obinna allegedly escaped the kidnapping enclave located near Kingstein Fast Food joint in Obawole Street at Iba, when the police came calling, based on information received from a public spirited person.
The Lagos Police Commissioner promised that the remaining members of the gang would soon be tracked down. The transporter expressed shock at the involvement of Okafor in the criminal business, saying the young man knows him inside out and is actually from a nearby village in Okwa, Anambra State, where he comes from.
Items recovered from the suspected kidnappers by the police include eight AK 47 rifles, assorted charms, two cutlasses, three rocket launchers, one rocket, five locally made handcuffs and 3,200 live ammunition among others.