The Enugu State Police Command has launched a manhunt for the kidnappers of students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and other abducted passengers.
It also said that nine suspected kidnappers have been arrested in two other kidnap incidents with three victims rescued.
Several students and passengers whose numbers were yet to be ascertained traveling to Nsukka on Sunday evening were reportedly abducted along the Nike-Opi-Nsukka road.
The students, according to sources, were returning to campus following the resumption of academic activities after eight months of industrial action embarked on by lecturers in public universities across the country.
An unconfirmed report had it that the kidnappers are demanding N300 million from the parents of the victims for ransom.
However, the command in a statement issued on Thursday by its spokesman, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, said it has deployed security assets to the location with a view to rescuing the victims and arresting the perpetrators.
The statement was titled: “alleged abduction: Enugu CP orders adequate emplacement of security along Ugwuogo-Nike/Opi/Nsukka road, rescue of alleged abducted victims and arrest of culprits.”
Ndukwe said that the Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmed Ammani, had on receipt of the report of the alleged attack and abduction of some travelers at Agu-Ekwegbe community axis of Ugwuogo-Nike/Opi/Nsukka highway, in the evening hours of October 23, 2022, ordered the maximum deployment of operational and intelligence resources of the command “to ensure adequate security on the said road, rescue unascertained number of persons allegedly abducted and arrest the hoodlums.”
“Consequently, the Commissioner has reassured users of the said road and the citizenry of the Command’s unwavering commitment to ensure that their security and safety are maximally maintained, while categorically stating that onslaught on unrepentant criminal elements in the State shall be sustained.”
Ndukwe, however, disclosed that operatives of the command serving at Independence Layout Police Division, on October 20, 2022, at about 2.30 pm, arrested three kidnapping suspects.
He gave the names of the suspects as Chidi Jobbison (m) aged 24; Emmanuel Ogbu (m) aged 25 and Ogochukwu Nweke (f) aged 17, at Nkwo in Ugwuaji community of Enugu South LGA, and rescued their male kidnapped victim.
He explained that their arrest was a sequel to the swift response of the operatives to credible information alleging the trio and other members of their gang who were operating in a minibus, had abducted the said victim from his house.
They were reported to have taken the victim to a bush in Ugwuaji and obtained a ransom of N650,00.00, through a POS Operator.
The Operatives according to him succeeded in clamping down on them, arrested the suspects and recovered a yellow-colored Suzuki mini bus with Reg. No. UKP 270 YP and two (2) masks which they operate with.
“Similarly, Police Operatives serving at Udenu Police Division of the Command, on 16/10/2022 at about 1.25 pm, promptly responded to a distress call and arrested six kidnapping suspects and rescued two of their victims, at Igbokwube Village, Amalla community in Udenu local government area.
“The suspects include Okechi Chijioke (male) aged 29 and Ugwu Christiana (f) aged 24 (principal suspects), Ndidi Ekwueme (female) aged 27 (jujuist), Chinwe Okoro (female) aged 35 (ransom receiver), Nwabueze Friday (male) aged 26 (tricyclist) and Titus Ekeh (male) aged 70 (provider of accommodation used for keeping the kidnapped victims).
“Ongoing investigation reveals that the male principal suspect lured the victims through Facebook, with the promise of selling cheap clothes and bags to them. But instead, took them to the said location working with his cohorts, and obtained a combined ransom of N500,000.00 without releasing them, before they were apprehended and the victims rescued.”
Items recovered from them include – One Dane gun, one mock gun, one tricycle, one gas burner, one 8-inches Winco foam, four bags containing clothing materials and other incriminating items.
The PPRO said the suspects would be arraigned in court after investigations were concluded.