By Ndon Asian
Men of the Force Intelligence Bereau (FIB) Special Tactical Squad – STS in Akwa Ibom State last Monday March 29, 2021 exhumed the corpse of a kidnap victim – late Mr Onyeka Oliver Ezewulu 36 from a shallow grave in Mbiaso community, Nsit Ibom LGA.
The discovery followed detailed investigation by the STS team here led by CSP Julian Igbodu into the kidnapping of Mr Onyeka on March 5, 2021. The late victim, a trader on exotic boxes and wears was based in China with outlets in Uyo, according to the brother who simply gave his name as Patrick. He lamented that the brother was on a visit to see his family before the crime which took his life.
Mr Onyeka was shot on the right leg by a gang of well armed kidnappers who laid ambush close to his house located along Idoro road in the state capital.
It was reliably learnt that the victim had attempted to run away before being shot at very close range with a high caliber rifle, later recovered by the police. The gang thereafter bundled their bleeding victim until their White coloured Toyota Camry car with tinted windshields and drove off.
Further investigations indicate that the victim who was not given any medical attention died the following day March 6,2021 as a result of the excessive loss of blood from the gunshot wounds while in the custody of his captors. He was subsequently buried in a shallow grave which barely covered his body, near a stream along old Mbiaso road.
Even after his death, the gang still negotiated with the family for huge ransome for his freedom. The family, unknown to them, had on March 10, 2021 – four days after his death, paid the sum of two million naira ransom while waiting to no avail for his release.
A middle aged female suspect named Deborah Sunday who claimed that she was born and brought up in Port Harcourt was arrested. She gave useful information to the police during the investigation, and on the status of the victim, admitting that she was to share in the ransom. However, the hundred and fifty thousand naira promised her from the ransom money, according to her, “was still with the DPO.” DPO is a coded reference to the leader of the gang who superintends over the sharing formula and general administration of the gang!
Another victim of the same gang of kidnappers, one Barr Ime Sampson was present when the remains of Mr Onyeka was exhumed. He was kidnapped on December 31, 2020 at the busy Mbierebe junction by the Ring road leading to the international stadium, Uyo.
According to the lawyer who narrated his ordeal at the location where the corpse of late Onyeka was unearthed, he had stopped to buy something at the junction when he was kidnapped and forced into the backseat of their Toyota Camry car after injuring him on the forehead. They then drove him around for a long while to create the impression that they had travelled quite a distance. When it became late, he was informed that he was in Port Harcourt.
Last Monday, Barr Ime clearly identified the small stream as the point from where they blindfolded him after firing several gunshots. He also identified the bush path through which they led him, and the building which he was incarcerated for about eight days.
Demanding a ransom of forty million naira, Ime recalled that they opened his phone and negotiation with his family four days into his captivity.
And after his family was able to raise two million six hundred thousand naira for his captors, he was fortunate to regain his freedom alive. But Mr Onyeka was not so lucky.
The team was accompanied by a police pathologist and a pathologist from the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) Uyo, who conducted on-site autopsy on the body before family members took delivery for burial.
Addressing newsmen at the site where the body of the late victim was recovered in Mbiaso, the Akwa Ibom State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Odiko MacDon commended the state commissioner of police, CP Amiengheme Andrew and the STS team for their efforts which led to the success of the investigation. He lamented the unfortunate waste of Onyeka’s life, assuring the public that the police will, at all times, ensure that criminals have no hiding place in the state. He solicited cooperation of members of the public in providing the police with useful information about crime and criminals.
On the whereabout of members of the deadly gang, Mr Odiko MacDon explained that the kidnappers had resisted arrest, and engaged the police in a firefight before they succumbed to the superior firepower of the police. The FIB STS is headed by DCP Kolo Yusuf, and has recorded significant success in dismantling kidnapping and other criminal gangs accross the country in recently.