By CHRISTOPHER OJI
Eight suspected members of a kidnap syndicate that abducted the mother of Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala have been arrested. One of the suspects, Jide-Ofor Ogbue (aka Marvellous) at the Lagos State police headquarters, Ikeja, told Daily Sun that the minister allegedly paid N13 million to secure the release of her mother.
The 22-year-old Ogbue gave a graphic account on how the gang killed a 79-year-old woman after collecting ransom before they kidnapped Okonjo-Iwuala’s mother. In his words: “I am Jide-Ofor Ogbue alias Marvellous.
I am from Ezi, in Delta State. I live by kidnapping, but I told my people that I am advanced fee fraudster. My job is kidnapping. “It was one Chuks who took me to Ogwashi-Uku, to kidnap a lawyer and politician.
After abducting the man, the lawyer was begging that he should give us cheque of N1 million, but we don’t believe in cheque, so we allowed him to go. Chuks said he had spoken to the palace guard to Okonjo Iwuala’s mother who is the wife of the King of Ogwashi-Uku. Chuks said the palace guard has given clue on how to gain access to the palace.
“The palace guard told us that we should procure National Youths Service certificate and forged university degree certificate, which we did. So, the day we entered the palace, we behaved as corpers looking for job so, we gained entry, but we were lucky that the woman was serving some workers water.
He said they were armed with four guns and that on seeing the gun, the victim and the workers became apprehensive, but they quickly convinced the woman that they were security agents from the presidency.
According to him, they told the woman that her daughter committed some fraud and that President Goodluck Jonathan needed her in Abuja.
He said the woman wanted to know why she was needed in Abuja. “We told her that the President would explain to her.” He said while they were moving her into a bush in Benin City, they explained to the Mrs Okonjo that she had been kidnapped and that she should call her daughter to pay N2 billion ransom.
When we took her to a farm in Benin, we bought a wrapper for her to sleep on and we bought food for her. She had some drugs on her. So, we treated her very fine and the woman kept assuring us that her daughter would bring money.
According to Ogbue, the gang was disappointed when the Iwualas were negotiating for small amount. “But because of the pressure from the press, we decided to collect N13 million, dropped for us at Benin Bypass in a Nylon bag. It was in N100 and N500 denominations. He revealed that he got N2 million on the elderly woman, Mrs, Regina Obi who was killed by his gang after collecting N2 million ransoms, he said.
“Actually, we collected the money but she was shot by Peter who is on the run. Peter killed her to avenge the death of his younger brother who was killed during exchange of gunfire with the police. I was not there when the woman was shot but Peter explained why.
The suspect who said he had no regret that he was in police net said: “I have entered, and I can’t come out of it. My only regret is that I was on my way to kidnap another important personality in Anambra when I was arrested. On his own, the palace guard, Chiejine Onochie said he was no longer working in the palace but that he knew the in and out of the palace.
“When I was approached by Chuks. He first told me to arrange for the kidnap of one of my aunties but I objected. He now told me to think of a personality that could cough out as from N5 million.
I now told him that the only big family that would cough out such amount without bunkering an eye was that of Okonjo Iwuala so the next question was how would they gain access t the palace. He continued that he now advised that Chuks should provide money for me to get NYSC and University degree certificate which they would show case in the palace as corpers looking for employment.
“We did it and they succeeded but I am just hearing from Marvellous that they got up to N13 million but they did not give me a dime that I provided the information that brought the job. Explaining how the suspects were arrested, the state Commissioner of Police (CP) Umar Manko said sequel to the arrest of one Chiejine and Chukwuma OKoh, on March 27 by men of State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) of the command, and their subsequent confession that they gave the information in December, 2012 that led to the kidnap of the mother of the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Iwuala in Delta State among many other kidnappings.
He said he instructed the officer in charge of Special Anti Robbery Squad, Abba Kyari to go after the kidnappers especially the kingpin known as Marvellous. Manko said on the strength of his instruction, men of SARS expanded his tracking network and deployed three SARS Decoy Teams to Delta, Edo and Rivers States which eventually led to the arrest of Jideofor Ogbue, a.k.a Marvellous in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Manko said other suspects, Michael Ojeabulu, Endurance, Oke, Ibrahim Abubakar, Buhari Hamadora and Hassan Oseni were arrested in different locations in Edo, Enugu, Delta and Anambra States respectively.
He said the suspects also confessed that equally confessed that they were responsible for the kidnap of one Mrs Regina Obi who as killed after collecting N2 million ransoms from the victim’s family.
He said the leader of the gang Marvellous has also confessed that he was on the way to Anambra State to kidnap the Honourable Commissioner of Commerce, when he was arrested.
Manko who also paraded four suspected armed robbers who raided VGC and killed two policemen said, “Crime is a bad business in Lagos because, we don’t only arrest criminals but those who ran to the state from other states.