Two men who were awaiting trial for kidnapping for 11 years until their escape from Owerri prison have been rearrested for the kidnap of a female legal practitioner in Owerri.
Again, the inmates were arrested alongside two other alledged criminal gang members who carried out the kidnapping of the lawyer.
The operatives of the Nigeria Police Force’s Intelligence Response Team IRT arrested Okechukwu Edison, 42, and Sunday Morison who were said to be long-time kidnappers, armed robbers, and car snatchers.
This time, trouble started for the suspects when an escapee coordinated a kidnapping syndicate in Portharcourt City from the prison facility of the Nigeria Correctional Service in Imo State, resulting in their operation of armed robbery and the kidnapping of a female lawyer in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Meanwhile, the suspects were apprehended by crack detectives of the Force Intelligence Bureau Intelligence Response Team FIB-IRT on November 10, 2022 at Rumuola junction in the Rivers State capital.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects, who hail from Rumuji in Rivers State’s Emohua Local area have confessed to the Intelligence Response Team led by DCP Tunji Disu.
According to their confession, “We left the correctional facility on Monday April 5, 2022 during the attack on the prison by a group of unknown gunmen who threw dynamites at the walls of the prison and commanded inmates to flee.”
“We went into kidnapping, robbery, and car theft after some armed soldiers invaded and destroyed the oil bunkering site we were making a living from after the jail break freedom as we lost everything that was sustaining our family.”
The suspects, along with another gang member who is also an ex-convict from the same prison facility, were later apprehended by police for kidnapping of their victim in Port Harcourt.
They were apprehended after IRT agents received information about the kidnap of the said lawyer who had been held captive for three days, before police authorities directed their operatives to conduct an immediate search and rescue of the lawyer.
The lawyer was released after the suspected criminals were apprehended, and she identified two of the suspects in the Police net as the people who kidnapped her and stole N5 million from her bank account.
In recounting his prison experience, gang leader Edison Okechukwu stated that he was imprisoned because he loaned a car to a roommate named Emmanuel, who was later arrested and charged with kidnapping.
He also stated that he had spent 11 years as an awaiting trial inmate in the Imo State prison prior to the jail break, and that the attackers of the prison invaded the facility and ordered inmates to leave.
On how they kidnapped their target, Edison Okechukwu stated that they spotted the victim along Igwuruta road coming out of a shop in the city and kidnapped her, then called one Chukwuemeka Onu, a-25-year-old male from his village to arrange for the safe keeping of their victim in an unfinished building.
According to Onu’s confession, he took Okechukwu, the gang leader, to Eneke, a semi-urban settlement in the city, to make arrangements for where to keep his bunkering equipment, not realising he was accompanied by a kidnapped woman.
One of the suspects also admitted that he was imprisoned in the Imo State prison prior to the jail break and had spent 14 years there before his case of armed robbery was reassigned to a new judge.
The IRT team is still looking into their involvement in other criminal activities in the state and making effort to apprehend other gang members.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, had previously issued orders that all suspects arrested be prosecuted in the nation’s law courts as soon as possible.