Abducted Kogi poly students returning home for Christmas regain freedom from abductors after paying ransom

The four abducted students of the Kogi State Polytechnic and their driver have been set free by their abductors.

Recall that the students were ambushed on Friday, December 23, 2022, at Ago Jinadu Axis, in Akoko, an area said to be noted for crimes, especially kidnapping, while travelling home for the Christmas.

It was gathered that shortly after the abduction, the hoodlums contacted their families demanding a sum of N16 million.

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A community leader and former Majority Leader of the Akoko North-West Local Government, Mr Soji Ogedengbe, disclosed the release of the victims on Wednesday.

He, however, confirmed that an undisclosed amount of money was paid as ransom before the victims were released.

In a related development, the Imo State Police Command says it has arrested one of the notorious commanders of Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network, identified as Lance Corporal Nwangwu Chiwendu aka Onyearmy, a deserter from the Nigerian Army.

It was learnt that Chiwendu, 34, had been on the Command’s wanted list for a long time.

The suspect, said to be a native of Amaohuru Nguru in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State was arrested December 23, 2022, at about 10.30 am in his hometown.

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Parading the suspect before newsmen in Owerri on Wednesday, the Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Mike Abattam, said Chiwendu’s modus operandi was gorilla-like operation, whereby he unleashed surprise terror attack and went into hiding in neighbouring states.

He said the suspect sat on a vantage position while his members were on surveillance, and on sighting the police operatives, they took to their heels, engaging the operatives in a shoot-out while using the crowd as a shield.

He said, “The gallant police operatives retaliated, professionally and tactically to avoid bullet hitting innocent persons in the crowd. He was later arrested after a long chase alongside two of his gang members with bullet injuries while others escaped. Amazingly, he did not sustain any bullet injury; this he attributed to the charms worn all over his body. He called it “Odeshi,” which means native bullet proof.

“On searching the house and premises of the suspect, the following items were recovered: five pump-action guns; two double-barreled guns; four locally-made pistols, 50 rounds of live cartridges; nine locally-made hand-grenades, ESN regalia and various charms and rings.

“In the course of interrogation, the terror Kingpin confessed to have enlisted into the Nigerian Army in 2013, where he trained as an engineer and became an expert in weapons handling and servicing of all heavy automatic weapons.

“He rose to the rank of Lance Corporal before he deserted the Army and joined the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its arm affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN) through one Ebubechukwu (surname unknown) and became the Operational Commander and Chief Trainer of the outlawed group where he claimed to have trained over one thousand members in weaponry and terror attack in their camp located in Ogbotoukwu, a forest, in Obowu LGA of Imo State.

“He further confessed to have participated and led in several vicious killings of Security personnel, attacks on INEC offices, burning of Police stations, murder of innocent people, armed robbery/kidnapping, terrorism and narrated how on 30th May, 2021, they murdered the late Ahmed Gulak, the former political adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“He confessed that he led the operation and they double crossed and stopped the Toyota Camry Taxi car that was taking him and his friend to the airport and ordered them to come down, shot him but the bullet did not penetrate his body, so he went to him and removed the rings on his right fingers, shot and killed him along airport road.

Other killings he led included “the recent killing of the Labour Party Senatorial candidate, burning of his house and Jeep.

“He led his gang members including one Okechukwu Duru and others, to kidnap one Jude Nwahiri on the 4th of November 2021, collected ransom of N21m after killing four persons in the residence of the victim at Amaohuru Nguru in Aboh Mbaise LGA, Imo State.

“The murder of the traditional ruler of Amaohuru Nguru Aboh Mbaise LGA, Imo state HRH Eze Anthony Anyanwu on 10/12/2021.”

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