The Imo State police command has arrested a traditional ruler and 7 others for allegedly kidnapping a police inspector and others in Imo State.
The traditional ruler, Eze Andrew Okwuegbunwa of Uba -Agwa autonomous community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, was yesterday, August 3, paraded alongside his cousin, a pastor and others for allegedly kidnapping one police inspector, Oscar Mbaeri and Louis Obodo all from same community.
Other victims of the gang, according to the State police Commissioner of Police, Isaac Akinmoyede who briefed newsmen on the development yesterday, are : Chigozirim Festus, from Egwelu Atta, Njaba, Anyanwu Amarachi and Desmond Okonkwo.
According to the CP, the gang at different locations in Owerri, successfully kidnapped their victims but they were not lucky enough to escape from the hot chase of the Anti – kidnapping Unit of the command who got a hint of their operation.
During the chase , the suspects were forced to abandon three of their victims and their operational vehicle , a Lexus RX330 SUV with registration number (Edo) URM -40 EL but escaped with two victims.
However, few months later, according to the commissioner, SARS operatives arrived the scene and recovered the abandoned vehicle.
A painstaking investigation by a combined team of the SARS and the Anti- Kidnapping Unit on July 28 later led to the arrest of the 59-year-old King, who has since confessed to be the owner of the car.
According to the CP, investigation has revealed that the monarch has constantly made available his vehicle for the gang operation.
Akinmoyede further disclosed that from investigation, it was learnt that the monarch was given N3 million from the N7. 5 million ransom collected from their victims to replace his damaged car.
When newsmen accosted the monarch to hear his own side of the report, he confessed hiring his vehicle to the gang and receipt of the money.
He said: “I don’t know that is what they use it for , but they give me money each time they return it, I have collected money from them three or four times like this.”
The police also arrested the spiritual father of the gang, pastor Caleb Agu, a 42-year-old cleric from Umuoni – Agwa. They also arrested a cousin to the monarch, Ebenezer Obioha, 38 and his pregnant wife, Ogechi Obioha a graduate of accountancy from Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri believed to be their cook and banker.
Ebenezer in a recent operation was said to have killed three National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) officials and made away with their guns.