Governor Obiano Demolishes Kidnappers' Dens In Okija And Nnewi

By Emeka Ozumba
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The resolve by the Executive Governor of Anambra State Chief Willie Obiano to flush hardened criminals and kidnappers from towns and communities in the state by going after them in their command and control centres has recorded another break-through with the demolition of three more buildings, two inside one compound in Umuatuegwu, Uhuobo, Okija, Ihiala Local Government Area and another in Uruagu, Nnewi North Local Government Area. The successful operations are a testimonial to the successes of the administration's security Joint Task Force otherwise known as 'Operation Kpochapu.'

The Kidnaper den pulled down at Okija is a storey building and a bungalow, properties of late Chief Pius Osuchukwu, but used by his two sons, one 'Akwaa' still at large and his elder brother and their gang now in Police custody as hiding place for kidnap victims. The two are sons of the first wife of the Late Mr. Osuchukwu who is expected to be buried on Friday 18th July 2014. The Nnewi den is a bungalow owned by one Mr. Jude Okeke, a kidnap king-pin who died in a gun duel with the Police.

Speaking to journalists shortly before the demolition at Okija, the Commissioner of Police Usman Gwary noted that the property has over time been used as holding bay for lots of kidnapped victims who had paid large sums of money as ransoms to ensure their freedom; some of which include Dr Emeka Aniebonam Hon Member representing Onitsha South II Constituency at the Anambra State House of Assembly who paid about N30 million; one time Access Bank manager and Cashier who paid N12 million; Manager of Julius Berger from Abagana who paid N30 million; a woman who came on holidays from Brazil who paid N25 million; a staff of CCC construction who paid N15 million; Chief Mike Okigbo who paid N30 million.

Others are a man abducted from Awka road who paid N15 million, and a poultry farmer who was kidnapped alongside her son also paid N10 million to the kidnappers. According to the anonymous informant who tipped off the security agents, the den has yielded about N300 million to the kidnappers.

Commenting on the significance of the demolition exercise, some of the residents around the area, Sopuluchukwu Odigbo and Chiduzie Ofodieze believed that the house should be destroyed especially when it has been found out that it had been used by kidnappers.

However, Onwaso Izu a victim of kidnap who was kidnapped at Nnewi after series of warning text messages on the 17thof December 2013, and released after 4 days while recounting his ordeal noted that he paid a ransom of N3.3million to be released. He said that he did not even know where the kidnappers took him and passionately applauded the new law of demolishing the kidnappers' dens and command centers.

Also a bungalow and shrine at Uruagu Nnewi was also demolished. Commissioner of Police Usman Gwary, described the owner Jude Okeke as one of the first kidnappers in Igbo land recruited and trained a host of others. Some of his victims include Sir Tony Obi the chairman of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, Chidolu Iroka, Ernest Obiora, and Joy Nnadi. He also kidnapped a certain Micheal whom he allegedly killed a buried in a shallow grave.

Reacting to the parade and demolition exercises, the Governor of Anambra state Chief Willie Obiano stated that the war on kidnappers will be intensified in all parts of the state to ensure that criminals are stamped out of all the corners of the state. Stressing the importance and commitment of his administration to the war on crime, Governor Obiano said, 'in the last 4 months, we have made a massive haul of criminals, of different forms of crimes and we have won this war and will not relent. We will go after their command and control centers, their hideouts and associates. We will continue to demolish their structures until they leave Anambra completely so that people will learn that their property should not be used for kidnapping'.

On creating employment, the governor revealed that the current registration of youths in the state has made it possible for the administration to ascertain the areas of need as far as employment is concerned and also, he said that the employment of Sabmiller in Onitsha has increased for more intakes of Anambra youths.

Furthermore, on how to set a better foundation for younger people, Chief Willie Obiano applauded the efforts of his predecessor Mr. Peter Obi in handling the schools over to the mission and stated that morals will be taught to inculcate the fear of God in children even as he emphasized that only hard work pays.