By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor, Soni Daniel, and Joseph Undu
LAGOS — Barely 48 hours after the arrest of notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudi Onuamadike a.k.a Evans, in his palatial mansion in Lagos, police sources, yesterday, disclosed that the dreaded leader of the gang has started singing like a canary, naming high-profile accomplices.
It was gathered that detectives investigating the case were kept busy, yesterday, taking him round Lagos, with a view to rounding up all those he had so far named.
This is even as the Department of State Service, DSS, announced yesterday it had smashed a 15-man kidnap gang that had been terrorising Edo State and its environs, led by a dismissed soldier, Lance Corporal Samaila Madu. DSS also said it has made progress in tackling the spread of insurgents fleeing military operations in the North-East towards Kaduna and its environs.
On the arrest of the kidnap don in Lagos, sources said some of the investigators left Lagos in the early hours in search of other named accomplices said to be outside Lagos, especially Edo, Umuahia, Aba, Onitsha and Nnewi, his home town, where he held sway for long until he relocated to Lagos. Efforts, according to sources, are also in top gear to locate his properties scattered all over the towns where he operated.
Vanguard learned that they have also strengthened security around the kidnap kingpin based on intelligence reports that some of the high-profile accomplices are gearing up to find means of silencing their leader to stop him from exposing them.
However, the sources assured that security around the suspects remains tight.
“We have stern directives from Abuja, nobody will toy with these suspects, people that gave us sleepless nights for many years?
“Do you know how happy we are after the arrest of, especially, their leader, Evans? We have directives to round up all suspected accomplices, whether high or low, and they all will go for it,” the sources said.
The break that led to Evans’ arrest
Meanwhile, more details emerged, yesterday, on how the gang leader, Evans, was arrested. Police sources said the final operation that led to the big break started within the week after the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, detailed three special teams attached to his office to complement efforts of his Intelligence Response Team, led by ACP Abba Kyari, in the manhunt for Evans.
Vanguard gathered that as soon as they arrived Lagos, intelligence reports indicated that the gang leader was relaxing in a location with a friend.
“We swung into action using the new and sophisticated equipment provided by the IGP and we were able to locate his whereabouts later in the day around Magodo. But we had a problem locating the exact house where he was relaxing.
‘’Luckily, the report we had paid off after persistent search around the whole area and our leader accosted his security man who told us that our target was inside the building. As soon as the guard turned around to go and inform him, we broke into the compound only to see our target just stepping out from the building, thinking that his visitor was the Uber taxi driver he earlier called to come and take him to the airport.
“Immediately he saw us moving into his mansion, he turned back and disappeared into his house. We pursued him and we all ended up inside his bedroom where he quickly surrendered and shouted: “The game is up. I did not know it will end this way.”
“The jubilation after his arrest was something else because we noticed that he had already packed his bags and baggage to travel out of the country. If we had not struck at that time, he would have disappeared and we will be back to square one.”
Amuwo-Odofin residents jubilate
Meantime, residents of Festac, Amuwo-Odofin and environs went wild with jubilation after the parade of the kidnap kingpin was shown on television. Eyewitnesses said people trooped out into the streets praising God and the Police for the arrest of the kidnap kingpin who had terrorized them for long.
Most of the celebrants openly called for prompt action on the part of the Police towards rounding up his accomplices, fearing that failure to do so would give them room to continue from where he stopped.
‘DSS tackling fleeing insurgents’
Meanwhile, the Department of State Service, DSS, said yesterday it had made progress in tackling the spread of insurgents fleeing the military operations in the North-East towards Kaduna and its environs.
The DSS also said it smashed a 15-man kidnap gang that had been terrorising Edo State and its environs led by a dismissed soldier, Lance Corporal Samaila Madu.
The DSS in a statement by the spokesman, Tony Opuiyo, in Abuja, pointed out that its recent operations in conjunction with the Nigerian Army was aimed at flushing out Boko Haram elements from setting up cells in Kaduna and its environs.
It said in the statement that in its bid to dislodge the terrorists, six Boko Haram insurgents were arrested at various locations in Igabi and Kaduna North Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
It gave the names of those arrested as Abubakar Sadiq Muhammad, Muhammed Nzifi, Abubakar Usman, Yusufu Idris Usman, Usman Idris Usman, and Ismail Idris.
The agency said that given its concern about the plethora of kidnappings on Abuja-Kaduna expressway, it arrested Aminu Aliyu, in Sokoto State for the kidnap of Ifeanyi Amos, (a Nigerian Army Captain) along Jaji-Kaduna highway.
The DSS said: “On 7th June, 2017, the Service also arrested Yusuf Aliyu, at Ungwar Danmani, Rigasa, Kaduna-North LGA, for his suspected membership of the syndicate terrorizing users of Abuja-Kaduna Road.
“Again, on 9th June, 2017, at Dankande village, Rigachiku, Igabi LGA, Kaduna State, the Service confronted a notorious kidnap gang. Though Isah Baki, leader of the gang, escaped with gunshot wounds, three of his members, namely Hassan Abdullahi, 22 years; Abubakar Abdullahi, 27; and Suleiman Abdullahi, 30, were arrested.
“On the same 9th June, 2017, along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Express Road in Kaduna, the Service engaged another dangerous kidnap group and arrested two of its members, including Yusuf Sani and Yusuf Adamu. Two AK-47 rifles and nine live ammunition were recovered from the suspects who are currently being interrogated.
“Committed to the effort aimed at achieving a terror free country, the Service sustained its counter-terrorism/insurgency operations. To this effect, it continued the degrading of the capabilities of these terrorist elements.
“Consequently, the Service in a joint operation with the military on 9th June, 2017, arrested Abdulhamid Isiaka, a.k.a Small and Habib Audu at Obajana and Ibillo in Kogi and Edo states respectively.
“It is instructive to note that Isiaka is a Libyan returnee, who had travelled to that country alongside Abu Uwais, a most wanted terrorist. While in Libya, Isiaka had undergone terrorism training and also acquired a cache of weapons in preparation for attacks in Kogi and Kaduna states.
“He, however, became notorious and specialized in gun-running, kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorist acts. Isiaka has made useful statements to facilitate further investigations and actions against the terrorist and kidnap networks on the Abuja-Okene and the Kaduna-Abuja axis.
‘’The secret agency also made progress in the search and arrest of the most wanted militia in Benue State, Terwase Akwaza, a.k.a Gana, with the arrest of three of his allies by a joint team of DSS and the military.
‘’Those nabbed by the security agencies during the search for ‘Gana are: Dondo Orsaa, Terhile Mbaloha, and Teryima Ihiambe, a.k.a Clark, who were apprehended at various locations within Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue State for their sustenance of kidnap operations across Benue and Taraba states.
‘’In Edo State, the DSS on June 9, 2017, at Aviele, Etsako West LGA, arrested 15 kidnap suspects, led by Lance Corporal Samaila Madu, a dismissed soldier.
‘’It was learnt that another member of the gang, Ibrahim Topa sustained gunshot injury in his left leg while he was trying to escape.
‘’Similarly, in Ebonyi State, one Chinonso Onwe, a.k.a Abino Flash, was arrested at Izhia community, Ohaukwu LGA on 1st June, 2017, by the Service in collaboration with the Community’s Security Council for armed robbery and kidnapping.
‘’He was identified to be a member of the Black Axe confraternity. During his arrest, two locally made pistols and a pair of Nigerian Army fatigue were among items recovered from him.
‘’Before then, on 1st May, 2017, at Galadima, Kogo District in Shiroro LGA of Niger State, the agency, acting in concert with the Nigerian Army, nabbed Ishaq Hashim and six of his accomplices, including Hassan Mohammed, Uzairu Umar, Adamu Abdullahi, Sa’idu Abdullahi, Salisu Haruna, and Abubakar Muhammadu for their notoriety in Boko Haram activities.’’
The agency said the groups were responsible for several armed robberies and string of kidnappings in Niger State, especially around the Suleja area.