The Department of State Services has apprehended six kidnappers of Chief Nitabai Inengite, an uncle to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Inengite was abducted at Otuoke community in the Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in February, 2014.
The kidnappers, who were paraded at the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Thursday include a 400-level undergraduate of the University of Jos, Plateau State, Eldred Jonah,30; Raphael Inengesi, 32; Ibeabuchi Inya,29; Oreva Abridi 29; Tammy Agbai,29; and a native doctor, Felix Onuoh,48.
The Service also paraded another set of kidnappers that were involved in the abduction of two sisters, Ejura and Unekwu Opaluwa at Karmo, Abuja on June 8, 2014.
The suspects are Oyemire Asagba, 29, aka Paul/Sky; Sunday Attah,30, aka Shyne; the armourer, Zacheus Salami,30, aka ‘D’; Victor Bassey,32; the driver, Sani Mohammed,23;, and Aragba Ademo,33, aka IT/Topson.
Others are Ojo Gambo,22; Haruna Asama,38; Dikko Iko, 22; and Mohammed Adamu,20, aka Mikifi/Abu.
The DSS Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, explained that Jonah masterminded the abduction of the President’s uncle and provided the take-off grant of N40,000 for arms procurement and other logistics.
According to her, the suspect confessed that he carried out surveillance on Inengite and that the gang had two teams for the operation, comprising the land team made up of five persons, and the waterside (speedboat) team, made up of three persons.
Ogar stated that four pump action rifles were used for the operation, adding that Inengite was whisked away in an ash-coloured Honda SUV to Onuegbu waterside from where he was transferred into a waiting speedboat and taken to the creeks.
She said, “The victim was held captive at two different locations within Bayelsa State in the creek of Brass, very close to the ‘mouth’ of the Atlantic Ocean and Okigbene creeks.
“Following a security operation by this service, he was released after 17 days in captivity without payment of ransom. Investigation into the incident eventually led to the arrest of the six suspects in Bayelsa, Delta and Edo States.”
Ogar stated that Agbai, an unemployed graduate of Accounting from the University of Port Harcourt, was the owner of the car that was used for the abduction, adding that the suspect denied involvement in the kidnap operation, claiming that one of his friends, Jonah, requested the use of the car for a burial ceremony, which he obliged him.
In an interview with newsmen, Jonah, who admitted to providing the money and undertaking surveillance for the abduction, claimed that the motivation for the operation was not ransom.
Onuoha, the native doctor, explained that he provided charms and herbal fortification for the kidnap gang because he was afraid they may harm him and his family if he did not cooperate with them.
He said, “Abridi came with three men and said they want juju for business success which I did for them. They later said that was not what they wanted, that they wanted to kidnap someone and wanted charm for protection.
“The moment they said that, their faces changed and I was afraid that if I don’t cooperate with them, they may harm me and my family because I was with my family at the time, so I agreed to help them and I asked them to pay me 10 per cent of the ransom.”
Ogar also explained that the leader of the kidnappers of two girls in Abuja, Asagba confessed to the crime, adding that the operation was carried out by him and four other gang members.
She said, “Paul had been arrested previously at a military checkpoint at Uke, Keffi LGA, Nasarawa State, while in possession of two Ak-47 rifles, magazines and 87 rounds of live ammunition.
“He was arraigned in court, convicted and sentenced to one and a half years in prison which he served at Keffi Prison in March 2013.
“Upon his release, he returned to his criminal activities and confessed that he kidnapped the two sisters at Life Camp, Abuja and that they collected N10m before releasing the victims, but they lied to the co-opted members that they received only N6m.”
The DSS stated that the gang co-opted Iko, the security guard at the victims’ residence who provided information on the movement of the Opaluwa family.
The service said that Iko had confided in a kinsman, Ezekiel, that his employer, the father of the kidnapped girls, kept money at home and it was Ezekiel who promised to introduce him to friends that could steal the money.
“Dikko was given N3,000 to buy a phone and SIM card for communication with the gang members,” Ogar explained.