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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Imo State Police Command Refutes Newspaper Report On Alleged Release of Some Notorious Kidnappers (PRESS STATEMENT)


AZ: 5250/IMS/PPRD/VOL.16/10                                             24th June, 2016

The attention of Imo State Police Command has been drawn to a newspaper publication on the front page of June 17, 2016 edition of Weekend Nigerian Horn captioned “Community accuses Police of releasing kidnap suspects” and page 6 of June 19, 2016 edition of Sunday Sun captioned “Anxiety in Imo Community over alleged release of kidnap suspect”. In the said publications, the reporter averred that tension has enveloped the entire Nguru Umuaro autonomous community in Ngor Okpala L.G.A. following the sudden release of some alleged notorious kidnappers by the Imo State Police Command without proper conclusion of the investigation into the kidnap of the President General of Nguru Umuaro Development Union, Chief Reginald Amadi.
The general public is by this press release enjoined to see the publication as false and misleading. The true position is that on the night of 08/05/2016, a gang of criminal elements stormed Nguru Umuaro Community in Ngor Okpala L.G.A, robbed one Chief Richard Anyanwu of his wallet, money and other valuables and further went to the house of one Chief Reginald Amadi, kidnapped him but was later released after (4) days of captivity.
On receipt of the report, operational unit of the Command swung into action and arrested six suspects including one Chief Kelechi Iheakaram, all indigenes of Ngor Okpala L.G.A . When the victim regained freedom, he was debriefed by the Police and he claimed that the six arrested suspects and one Chief Emmanuel Nnodim were the persons that kidnapped him. Intensive effort was made to arrest the said Chief Nnodim who has been at large till date. Meanwhile Chief Kelechi Iheakaram and all the arrested suspects were intact in Police detention undergoing interrogation as to their involvement in the said kidnap.
          Based on information and intelligence gathered, operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit moved to Lagos on 21/05/2016 where one John Chima ‘m’ alias American was arrested in his hideout at Igando Lagos State. The phone and SIM card used to negotiate for ransom for the release of Chief Reginald Amadi were promptly identified and recovered from the house of John Chima alias American. On interrogation, the said American confessed to the kidnapping of Chief Reginald Amadi, mentioning his cohorts in the crime to include: one Emmanuel Madu ‘m’ alias Shadow, Anderson, Julius and Duru surnames unknown. He further stated that they collected a ransom of One Million Nine Hundred and fifty thousand naira (N1, 950, 000) and that the gang members immediately moved to Lagos where they shared the ransom among the five of them.

On 22/05/2016, the said American led the Police to arrest one Emmanuel Madu alias Shadow and Chinonso Okereke alias Last Burial. Shadow also on interrogation confessed to the kidnap of Chief Reginald Amadi. Both American and Shadow vehemently exonerated the first six suspects, that is Chief Kelechi Iheakaram and five others earlier arrested at Ngor Okpala by operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping unit. Both suspects stated categorically that they were a gang of five men armed with a Pump Action gun and one locally made pistol which was procured by Anderson (still at large) who is in custody of the two arms.

In view of the fact that the prime suspects, John Chima alias American and Emmanuel Madu alias Shadow had voluntarily confessed to the crime, narrated the planning and execution of the kidnap of Chief Reginald Amadi, identified and mentioned other members of the five man gang and how the ransom was shared, it became obvious that the six suspects earlier arrested at Ngor Okpala namely: Chief Kelechi Iheakaram, Uchenna Okoreafor, Stanley Nnanna, onyewuche Eke, Chinaluogwu Ibekwe, and Obinna Onyewuchi might not be connected to the kidnap hence their release on bail.

During the course of investigation, it was discovered that the victims had previous communal/factional disagreement with the six suspects earlier arrested and it was obvious that they were mentioned to settle an old score. Investigation has shown that it was a deliberate ploy to implicate them.

It is pertinent to state here that information and intelligence that led to the arrest of the actual kidnap suspects was through the efforts of the Police and not from the victim who only pointed accusing fingers at his perceived enemies in the communal politics in the village.

From the outcome of the investigation so far, I wish to state categorically that the Imo State Police Command would not be used by any person or group of persons no matter how highly placed to settle personal or factional community scores.


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