Police Recover Rocket Launchers From Kidnappers

Oct 10, 2011 – 3 people allegedly abducted by unknown persons have been rescued in Lagos by the state police command.

Rescued are:  Dr. Godwin Ene, Mr. Rodney Ogagba and Mr. Godwin Okonkwo.

The rescue team, led by Mr. Patrick Ejadewe, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), recovered two dyanamites, eight AK47 rifles, three rockers 108 magazines fully loaded with 30 rounds each, 665 live ammunition and assorted charms.

Two persons suspected to have carried out the abduction were paraded yesterday by the police.  The other members of the gang are at large.  They belong to a syndicate with specialty in abductions for huge ransoms. 

The kidnappers allegedly demanded N150 million ransom from each of the suspects.

According to a police source, the family of Ogagba, who was kidnapped on September 10, had negotiated with the kidnappers after which they paid N4 million but the kidnappers asked for more.

He said: “Ogagba was kidnapped at Alausa a month ago. He was pulled out of his Hummer V Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and taken to a specified location.

“After communicating with the family, N4 million was given to the kidnappers but they said it was too small and demanded for more.”

The police source added that after further negotiation, the kidnappers decided to collect additional N2.8 million but unfortunately for them, Police were on their trail.

The source added:”The kidnappers kept on changing locations of where to collect the money so as to monitor if Police were on their trail.

“After about two hours, one of the kidnappers came on a motorcycle to collect the cash but as he collected the money, policemen double-crossed him and after interrogation, he led us to the house where the victim were being held.

“On getting to the house which surprisingly is located in a residential area, the kidnappers on sighting policemen, scaled the fence and ran away. However, one of them engaged us in a gun battle but failed to overpower us.”

The other victims, Ene and Okonkwo, were rescued after the police conducted a search on the house.

He said: “We rescued three victims and upon searching a vehicle in the compound, we found a stockpile of ammunition.”

Ene and Okonkwo narrated how they were kidnapped.

Ene said: “The hoodlums accosted me while I was driving around 6pm on Thursday. Four of them, armed, came down from a Sport Utility Vehicle and claimed to be from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). So, I did not argue with them. However, I realised they were liars when they forced me into their car, blindfolded me and started beating me.”

He added that after taking him to an undisclosed location, they demanded N150 million from him.

He said: “They held me for three days and only fed me once. I am 66 years old and yet they acted this cruel to me. They also demanded N150 million from me but thanks to God and the police, my life was spared.”

Also speaking, Okonkwo, who was held for a month, said after he told the kidnappers that he would not be able to pay the N150 million ransom, they began torturing him almost on a daily basis.

Ene said: “I am a manufacturer by profession. So, they might have thought I’m very rich. I explained to them that I did not have liquid cash but they flared up.

“Each day they would beat me with the side of a machete and threaten to kill me if I did not co-operate with them.

“I am so thankful to God that the police came to my rescue. God bless them.”

The two suspects, Kenneth Okonkwo and Azubike Okafor, said they were not the mastermind. Kenneth said: “I did not kidnap them. I was only sent by Obinna, a member of the gang, to go and collect the ransom at a specified location.”

The police identified Okafor as a murder suspect who had been on the run for months and had been declared wanted.

Okafor said: “Indeed, I killed someone mistakenly in Awka. But I’m not a criminal by nature. It was my friend, Obinna that told me to come to Lagos that he would sponsor me to Germany. I did not know before coming to Lagos that he was a kidnapper.”

Commissioner of Police Mr. Yakubu Alkali described the arrests as evidence his command was determined to rid the state of crime.

He said: “Like I keep saying, crime control, crime prevention and crime management are not solely an institutional responsibility but the public must continue to provide the police with useful information.

“The hoodlums were arrested through holistic policing, otherwise known as community policing after a tip off from a responsible citizen.”

Alkali thanked Governor Babatunde Fashola for supporting the efforts of the command. (The nation)