A gang of kidnappers, who plotted to abduct one Ekene Okonkwo, on November 21, 2015, in Enugu State, probably had high expectations for the festive season.
Okonkwo, a native of Affa, in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, was a successful and well-to-do businessman.
The kidnappers, who are now in custody, are Ekene Nwankwo , Emeka Igwe , ChidiAgu, , and one Ebuka .
To the hopeful kidnappers, Okonkwo’s abduction was their ticket for a beautiful Christmas and New Year celebration.So, with high hopes, the kidnappers put their plans into motion on November 21.
On the fateful day, Okonkwo attended a traditional wedding ceremony in another part of Enugu State.
The kidnappers, who monitored his movement, plotted to abduct him on his way back from the traditional wedding.
Initially, things went according to plan.
Around 7pm, on November 21, the victim, Okonkwo, approached Affa road, near Ninth Mile Corner, Enugu, on his way from the traditional wedding.
The hoodlums had already laid ambush for Okonkwo and on sighting him, the armed kidnappers snatched him.
They succeeded in taking the businessman hostage, abandoning his Toyota Tundra sports utility vehicle by the road.
The kidnappers reportedly threatened to kill him if he refused to cooperate with them. They took Okonkwo to their den in a bush along the Old Nsukka-Abor Road, around the Ninth Mile Corner.But, thereafter, things took an ugly turn – for both the hostage and his abductors.They reportedly gagged and restrained Okonkwo. Having obtained the relevant mobile telephone numbers from him, the kidnappers placed calls to his relatives, demanding the sum of N10m as ransom.
For seven days, in their frustrating wait for the N10m, the kidnappers were said to have subjected Okonkwo to brutal beatings as they spiritedly urged him to do everything possible to speed up the payment of the ransom.
They also denied the hostage food and water.
The kidnappers, who had become frustrated, were still hoping that Okonkwo’s abduction would yield the expected N10m when the unexpected happened.
Okonkwo suddenly died.
The businessman, who was tied up, starved and beaten for seven days in captivity, had reportedly become very weak.
On noticing that the victim had died, the kidnappers panicked, fled and abandoned in the bush.Soon after, the kidnappers were all tracked down. They were arrested by operatives of the Anti-Kidnap Unit of the Enugu State Police Command.Spokesman of the Command, Mr. EbereAmaraizu, who confirmed the development, said the hoodlums were trailed to various hideouts in Enugu, and Lagos before they were apprehended, early in December, 2015.
Amaraizu said some of the kidnappers sustained injuries in a shootout with the police while attempting to resist arrest.
Now in police net, the kidnappers are passing blames among themselves for ‘mistakes’ made during Okonkwo’s ill-fated kidnap.
They believe the mistakes led to the victim’s death and their subsequent arrest.
One of the hoodlums, ChidiAgu, explained that the victim would not have died if his colleague,
Ekene Nwankwo, had not suggested that he should be tied, to forestall his escape.Agu added that they wanted to stop the victim from attempting to attack and overpower them.
He explained that hardship and attendant frustration drove him to join the kidnapping gang.Agu, who expressed regrets over Okonkwo’s death, pleaded for forgiveness.
He would certainly turn a new leaf, if set free, according to him.
The other kidnappers, Nwankwo and EmekaIgwe, both admitted that it was the quest to raise quick money that led them to venture into kidnapping.
According to Igwe, they plotted Okonkwo’s abduction with hopes that the businessman would instruct his relatives to immediately release the ransom money to them.
Igwe said four of them plotted the kidnapping, naming himself, Nwankwo, Agu and Ebuka, who is still at large, as members of the gang.
Just like Agu, Igwe expressed regrets that the kidnapping venture took an unfortunate turn. He also pleaded for forgiveness.
On his part, Nwankwo admitted that before deciding to go into kidnapping, the gang had unsuccessfully tried several options in a bid to realise their desire for quick money.
Nwankwo explained that this burning desire for quick wealth pushed them to consult native doctors as they sought to engage in money-making rituals.
He revealed that the native doctors in turn asked them to bring substantial sums of money for the purchase of items needed for the money-making sacrifices.
Lacking money to give the native doctors for the purchase of the required items, they opted to venture into kidnapping, Nwankwo explained.Nwankwo, who is said to be the leader of the gang, further explained that it was Ebuka, who is currently at large, that monitored the businessman’s movements.According to him, it was Ebuka that notified other members of the gang that the businessman was approaching the location where they laid ambush for him, after leaving the traditional wedding on that fateful day.The hoodlum expressed regrets that the operation did not go as expected.
The Enugu State police pokesman, Amaraizu, said the force has launched a manhunt for the said Ebuka, in a bid to bring him to book alongside the other members of the gang, who are already in detention.
Amaraizu added that investigations are ongoing into the unfortunate kidnapping affair.
Meanwhile, Okonkwo’s decomposing body has been recovered from the bush, where it was abandoned by the kidnappers after he gave up the ghost.
The corpse was deposited in the morgue of an undisclosed hospital.