Rivers: Kidnappers disguising as herdsmen busted after N300m ransom demand

The kidnap suspects

..Kidnap gang has network across Rivers, Delta and Edo States, police say

By Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt

Operatives of the Anti-kidnapping Unit of the Rivers State Police Command have arrested five individuals suspected to be involved in various criminal activities, including kidnapping and cultism.

Among the suspects are those who kidnapped and demanded N300m ransom from their victims after subjecting them to inhumane treatments inside the notorious Etche forests in Etche local government area of Rivers State.

The Spokesperson of Command,SP Grace Iringe-Koko said investigation was initiated following a report made by the management of Lujo Heights Homes on January 19, 2024. The report detailed the disappearance of four staff members during a routine property inspection in Okocha Community, Igbo-Etche, Etche Local Government Area. Despite repeated attempts to establish contact, there was no response from the missing individuals.

According to Iringe-Koko, “Through meticulous intelligence-gathering efforts, the police apprehended four suspects believed to be connected to the incident. The arrested individuals have been identified as Yahaya Bello, Aliyu Usman, Sule Abubakar, and Abdullahi Adamu.

She said that during questioning, these suspects confessed to their involvement in the abduction of the victims, as well as the subsequent destruction of the Toyota Sequoia SUV they were traveling in.

The victims, who endured a harrowing ordeal in the forests of Etche, recounted being subjected to inhumane treatment and constant threats of death unless a ransom of NGN 300,000,000 (N300m) was paid for their release.

“Investigations revealed that these individuals are part of a criminal network predominantly comprised of Fulani individuals operating under the guise of cattle rearers, they have been engaged in a series of kidnappings across Rivers, Delta, and Edo states. In Port Harcourt, they had taken up residence in Valley Decision Estate, where they deceitfully convinced the community to grant them access to the land, purportedly for protection against land grabbers.

Related News

“Aliyu Usman, aged 33 who hails from Kebbi State, emerged as a central figure in the criminal operations. He had been working as a security guard in Valley Decision Estate, Rumukwurushi, facilitating the infiltration of criminals . Aliyu has a previous history of involvement in armed robbery.

“Sule Abubakar, aged 25 was brought into the gang by Aliyu with the aim of strengthening their criminal activities in Port Harcourt. During interrogation, Sule confessed to his participation in his first kidnapping assignment in Edo State, alongside his elder brother who is currently at large.

“Abdullahi Adamu, aged 20 from Taraba State, had recently arrived in Port Harcourt and was undergoing training in criminal operations under the guidance of Aliyu.

Furthermore, Mallam Yahaya, who had been supplying food to the captors, was also apprehended. He admitted to receiving a sum of NGN 470,000 as his share of the ransom”.

The Command’s Spokesperson said further that during the operations, the police were able to recover two locally-made pistols, two smartphones, and a black Toyota Sequoia belonging to the gang. Investigations are currently underway to apprehend other members of the criminal network who are still at large.

In a separate operation, the Anti-Cultism Unit successfully arrested a notorious cultist and kidnapper known as Godfrey Odum. Godfrey was implicated in the abduction of Precious Chukwu, a student of Elechi Amadi Polytechnic. The victim was eventually released after being robbed of her belongings. Godfrey has confessed to the crime and has provided crucial information regarding the identities of other gang members involved.

The Commissioner of Police, Tunji Disu, expressed his commendation for the outstanding efforts of the officers of Rivers State Police Command in combating crime and ensuring the safety of residents. He advised residents to be careful when hiring security personnel and reiterated the command’s unwavering commitment to rid the state of criminal elements.

The Commissioner urged all residents to remain law-abiding citizens and to cooperate with the police in their efforts to maintain peace and security within the state.

The Rivers State Police Command continues to work tirelessly to ensure the safety and protection of all residents. The public is urged to provide any relevant information that may assist in ongoing investigations.

Load more