The Kidnap of Chief Vincent Obianodo, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO of The Young Shall Grow Group
Barely two years after prominent transporter, Chief Vincent Obianodo, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of The Young Shall Grow Motors narrowly escaped death, when his convoy was attacked by some gunmen in Festac Town, the police in Lagos State, recently arrested some suspects who revealed the real motive behind the attack.
The suspects also exposed not just the identity of the leader of the gang that carried out the operation but also made startling revelations about the kingpin who is regarded in police circles as the most notorious kidnapping expert in the country.
Three suspects allegedly linked to the attack that occurred on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, which also left four persons dead including two of the gunmen, a police officer and Chief Obianodo's driver, while he sustained bullet wounds, are currently being interrogated at the Special Anti-Robbery Sqaud, SARS, Ikeja.
REAL MOTIVE FOR ATTACK ON YOUNG SHALL GROW
They disclosed that the attack on Chief Obianodo which many speculated to be an assassination attempt, was actually an attempted kidnap which was foiled by his police guards. It was gathered that the kidnappers weren't expecting any form of resistance from his guards as they accosted his convoy on 22 Road Festac Town.
“They had expected the policemen guarding the chief to run for cover when they accosted them and opened fire on his convoy. But surprisingly, a policeman guarding the Chief put up a fight and engaged the kidnappers in a shoot-out, killing two at the spot while one other died before they fled,” police sources explained.
Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident commenced immediately after the attack. Policemen at the Area E, Command, Festac, under whose jurisdiction the incident occurred made little progress in unearthing the true motive behind the attack. Thereafter, the case was hurriedly transferred to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FEDSARS, Adeniji Adele, Lagos, amid allegations of interference and cover-ups.
HOW THEY SHIFTED BASE TO OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY
Crime Guard gathered that reasonable progress was made at the FEDARS in taking out the gang behind the kidnapping but they also went ahead to coordinate more other high profile kidnappings in Lagos and other parts of the country where they got hundreds of millions as ransom. It was learnt that the gang was headed by one Evans, a notorious kidnapper terrorizing Anambra State but who relocated to Ghana when Anambra, his home state became too hot for him to operate in.
Government and the Police in Anambra State were said to have launched a manhunt for him and one of his colleagues, known as Hutch –Man, when their activities became highly unbearable. Their buildings were destroyed and their relatives were ostracised in the society. While in Ghana, Evans and Hutch-Man formed a new gang in Lagos with three others. Their modus was to enter into the country quietly, carry out some kidnappings and disappear into thin air. Chief Obianodo's attack was one of their operations but unfortunately, Hutch-Man and two others met their doom in that operation, while Evans escaped.
ESCAPADES OF EVANS, LEADER OF THE GANG
Sources at the Lagos State Police Command disclosed to Crime Guard that Evans, after the death of Hutch-Man, succeeded in forming a new but highly sophisticated gang, which has successfully coordinated several high profile kidnappings in Lagos and other parts of the country, collecting ransoms in hundreds of millions of naira. Most of his victims are said to be prominent citizens and business executives based in Lagos. They are usually threatened not to report the case to the police upon their release. That was why most of the cases were not reported to the police for fear of reprisal by Evans and his deadly gang.
EVANS, THE SUPPER RICH KIDNAPPER AND HIS STRATEGY
Police sources described Evans as the most notorious kidnapper operating in Lagos at the moment, stating that he has over 20 boys working for him in Lagos alone. The source added that Evans could easily pick out his targets as he is very rich with properties in choice areas in Lagos. “He displays lots of wealth. He has properties in Lekki and Ajah and he drives expensive cars around town making it possible for him to blend easily with the rich in the society. When he picks out a victim, he sends a team to monitor the movement of that victim.
When he thinks it's ripe for him to strike, he would deploy another team to attack and kidnap his victim. After carrying out their operation, they usually blindfold their victims after which they are taken to unknown destinations within the state where they are detained and ransoms are demanded before their release. After their freedom, the victims are warned never to alert the police or members of their families would be attacked.
At the moment, no one knows Evans whereabouts because he has plenty of cash and can easily move in and out of the country,” police sources hinted.
CONFESSIONS GALORE BY SUSPECTS
The suspects identified as Victor Anamalechi, Nnamdi John and Chukwuma Kingsley are currently helping the operatives in their investigation. One of them,Chukwuma Kingsley,34, a native of Isele-Ukwu in Delta State, who was arrested recently, in connection with the kidnap of two oil moguls in Lagos state, Chief Idowu Coker, the Director of Dapsey Oil, who paid N20 million ransom and Alhaji Fashola Hammed, who was rescued from the kidnappers den without 'paying ransom, confessed to Crime Guard how he became a criminal.
According to him “I ventured into crime in 2012 after I lost my job at the company where I worked as a security man. I am married with four children. I travelled to Indonesia with the little money I saved from my salary. When I got there, I fell ill and I returned back to the country. Things became very difficult for me and my family. While I was searching for help, I met one Ike, who was an old friend and I asked for assistance. He told me that he was into car vandalism and I could join him if I had the gut. For the fact that I could barely fend for my wife and four children, I decided to join him. We did a couple of jobs together.
ATTACK ON FILLING STATIONS
Later, some of his friends who specialised in petrol station burglary invited me to join them. I followed them to raid a number of fillings stations on high ways and we stole a lot of money. When we attack a filling station at night, we will break into it, ransack the place and collect all the money and valuables we could lay our hands on. After a while, some filling stations started engaging the services of armed security men and this made our job difficult. Ike, Alhaji and Victor, who are the leaders of the gang provided the arms we used while Nnamdi John, brought two Ak 47 rifles and some police uniforms to us.
''We would disguise as policemen on duty and when we get to a filling station with armed guard, we will arrest the security, tire him up and rob the place. The money we were making from that operation became too small for us. Victor then suggested that we should start robbing ATM and fast food joints. Our first ATM and fast food robbery was in Ogun State . We realised N400,000 from the operation.
The second operation was at a bank in Okene in Kogi State, but while we were trying to open the vault of the ATM, our burner got spoilt and we stopped working and returned back to Lagos. Before we attack any bank, a member of our gang will survey the place to make sure that there are no armed policemen on guard at the bank. If the place is clear, we will strike.
Our most lucrative operation then was in a bank in Ogun state where we found over N 15 million from the ATM vault and later we robbed a filling station and collected N3.5million, which was their sales for the weekend. I bought a car with my share of the loot, but days after that operation, we had a problem. We attempted to rob an ATM in Ogun State, but there were lots of vigilante men around the area, then we decided to abort the operation and returned to Lagos.
POLICE AMBUSH AT IGANDO AND DISBANDMENT
''We drove in through Abeokuta Road and when we got to Ibah on LASU-Igando Road, some policemen accosted us and we ran in different directions for safety but I abandoned my car. After that incident, we disbanded the group for fear of being arrested. Ike travelled out of the country, Victor who had a shop in Alaba International Market went back to his business, while I became a taxi driver.
Nnamdi lives in Ikotun and also has a shop at Alaba International Market. We were still hanging out regularly. We normally meet in hotels and local bars. A day after the owner of Young Shall Grow Motors was attacked, I tried reaching Nnamdi through his cell phone but his line was not connecting. I didn't know that he took part in that operation but I was only calling him so that we would hang out. I tried for four days, his line didn't connect but on the fifth day, he called and asked that we should meet in one of the hotels around our area.
STORY OF ESCAPE FROM YOUNG SHALL GROW OPERATION
When we met, he told me that he was lucky to be alive. I asked him what happened. He told me that he was part of the gang that attacked the owner of Young Shall Grow Motors. I was surprised because we were not into kidnapping and he also didn't discourse such plan with me. He then explained that one of his friends called Sudo, who is based in Ghana, linked him to the gang and they wanted to use his AK 47 rifles for the operation.
He said he met the gang which includes; Hutch-Man, Evans, Acko and one other he did not know his name in Igando and they planned how to carry out the attack. He later explained that Evans didn't tell him that there would be an exchange of gunfire and he was not prepared. He said they accosted the man with their black Lexus Sport Utility Vehicle, SUV, and they shot at the vehicle carrying the man but some policemen following him shot back at them and killed Hutch-Man and Acko at the spot.
According to him, they also shot at their SUV as they made to escape and the bullet hit the unidentified man in their vehicle. He told me that he drove the vehicle and the body of the dead man to the hotel where they planned the operation in Igando and left the dead body for Evans to take care of.
UNMASKING THE KINGPIN, EVANS
There and then, I advised him to be careful while dealing with Evans because Evans is a dangerous criminal. We once lived in the same building 14 years ago and he was a notorious drug baron. At a time, we forced our landlord to evict him from our building because we were scared he could get us into trouble. After that discussion, he told me that he was going to leave the country to avoid being arrested by the police. But few months later, I learnt he was arrested for truck diversion and was taken to prison.
THEN EVANS CALLED…..
''I was still doing my taxi job and making little money from it. Then, suddenly, I received a call from Evans. I was surprised he had my phone number and he asked if I had a car, I told him I didn't and he asked if I could get someone I trusted who could do a job for him, I said yes. Ike was in the country then and he was driving a Toyota Sienna space bus. I took him to Evans and we met at Festac Town.
He told us to trail a car for him and he would pay us N3 million. We agreed and he said we should wait for his call. Two weeks later, he called and said we should drive down to Trade Fair Complex, wait under the bridge and look out for a car. He gave us the registration number and colour of the car. He also gave our numbers to somebody who would call and tell us when our target will leave his shop.”
FORMATION OF NEW GANG AND ALIMOSHSO RAID
Ike got angry because that wasn't the agreement. He told me that Evans collected N15million as ransom. Ike started calling him and he stopped picking his calls and changed his number. Ike went back to Ghana and I went back to my business. One month later, Ike called me and said he has concluded plans to form his own kidnap gang. He said he has found someone who has contacts of rich people we could kidnap within Alimoshun area.
We met at Igando and he told me that he has also rented an apartment which we will use as our den. Our first victim was Dabsy. I did the surveillance while Ike and two other boys carried out the operation. The man was kept in our den and we demanded a ransom of N30million. He paid N20milliom. We collected the ransom at Governors Road, Ikotun and I got N3million as my share.
I bought a Toyota Camry with my share and used the remaining to take care of myself. Few weeks later, the guy who gave us the information of our first victim brought another job. The victim this time is called Alhaji Fashola. I waited for him at Isheri roundabout and when I sighted him, I contacted Ike and doubled crossed him in traffic and broke his wind screen with the butt of my gun and abducted him. We took him to our den but days later, SARS operatives stormed the house, rescued him and arrested me. Ike managed to escape,” he narrated.
ANOTHER SUSPECT OPENS UP
The third suspect,Nnamdi John, 35,a native of Abia State in his confessions said he got his two Ak47 rifles from his friend who was killed in Kano State during a robbery operation. “I came to Lagos in 2006 from Okene, Kogi State. I was brought in by a man who was selling used television sets in Okene. I came to Lagos with N90,000 and I was selling used phones at Alaba International market. After a while, I ventured into musical instruments with the money I made from selling used phones.
I rented a shop and things were moving fine for me. In 2011, I met one guy known as Okute at a drinking spot in Ojo and he was spending so much money. We became friends and he gave me his car to keep for him. He would call me some time to bring the car when ever he needed it and when he is through with the car, he will return it to me and dash me N50,000. I didn't know what he was doing with the car until one day when the car had a flat tire and I went to fix it. He saw me and was very upset. I was surprised why he was so upset with me over a minor issue.
CAR AS AMOURY
Then he told me that he has guns inside the car and nobody must know about it. One month after that incident, he called and said that he wanted to travel to Kano State. That was the last time I heard from him. Later, news came in that members of his gang went for an operation in Kano and he was gunned down. One of his friends who knew that the guns were in the car contacted me and said I could make money with the guns.
He brought a job at Alakija where we got N90 million. My share from that operation was N59 million. I built a house and bought a Sports Utility Vehicle with part of the money. I then invested the remaining into my business and travelled to Japan and started importing musical instruments. People were surprised by my sudden wealth but they didn't know how I made it. The first set of importations I did went well but the last one didn't go well.
There were lots of debts so,I stopped importing. Later on, my business folded up and I went back into robbery. I joined Kingsley and his gang and we raided banks, filling Stations and ATM. Subsequently, I met Evans and we attempted to kidnap the owner of Young Shall Grow Motors. That operation was so bloody and I decided never to venture into kidnapping again,”he stated.