Chukwu Sunday and Chidokwe Efide were said to have been arrested at a spot very close to the Ibori Golf Club in Asaba Delta State after the victim, Maris Ibe, alerted the Inspector General of Police Adamu Mohammed about the incident.
A police source who said the suspects had demanded a ransom of N1 million which was delivered to them before the victim was released, also revealed that operatives of the IRT headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari were immediately deployed to Delta State by IGP Adamu to hunt down Sunday and Efide.
On how the suspects were smoked out of hiding, the police source said the victim tricked the kidnappers while in their den by telling them that she would convince her husband to increase the N500,0000 ransom they had demanded to N1 million.
With this, said the source, she gained the trust of the suspects and also obtained vital information about them and their activities. The suspects were also said to have become so comfortable with her that they did not beat even blindfold her. And when they got their ransom, they led her peacefully to a bus stop where she boarded a vehicle that took her home.
On regaining her freedom, however, she divulged the information she had about them to the police. The suspects were therefore shocked when operatives of the IRT who were deployed in Asaba, Delta State rounded them up and recovered three locally made guns, an axe, an iron cutter, 10 unexpended cartridges and the sum of N320,000, which was part of the ransom they collected.
It was gathered that the suspects, who are indigenes of Anambra State residing in Asaba, confessed to the crimes during interrogation, saying that they took to kidnapping because they lost their jobs as sand loaders at Asaba Waterfront.
In his confession, 28-year-old Sunday who is married with a child said: “I dig and sell sand for a living at a waterfront in Asaba. I was into farming before I was arrested in 2018 and sent to prison for two years for buying a stolen phone.
“Upon my release, I went into sand mining at the Asaba Waterfront where I met one Ali and one Muritala who later became my very good and trusted friends.
“They later confided in me that that they were into armed robbery and kidnapping. They also showed me their guns and took me to the place where they kept their guns.
“But during the lockdown, they relocated to their hometown in Kogi State and left their guns behind. When things became very difficult for me as the lockdown continued, I picked up the guns and called one of my friends known as Efibe, who has no job, and we talked about forming a kidnapping gang.
“First, we asked the woman to step down from her vehicle and we walked her into the bush. The woman then called her husband and we spoke to him and demanded the sum of N500,000, but she offered us N1 million because we didn’t take her vehicle.
“She told her husband to increase the amount we demanded by N500,000 and also told him not to involve the police because she discovered that all we needed was just money to survive. We did not beat her and also did not blindfold her.
“One of the woman’s brothers wanted to bring the ransom to us but the woman insisted that her sales girl should bring the money to us.
Sunday said he was not the owner of the cutter and other home breaking equipment found with him.
He said: “The owners of the cutters usually use it to steal big generators from telecommunication masts and from the homes of rich people within Delta State.
“I have gone on one of such operations before but I was not given any money. It was three days after kidnapping that I was arrested by the police.
“I have given my life to Christ and I want to turn a new leaf.”
In his own confession, Efide, an Igala by tribe, expressed regrets and blamed Sunday of luring him into kidnapping.
He said: “I have a child but I am not married. I had never done a thing like this before; it was my friend Chukwuka (Efide) that lured me into the dirty business.
“It was the devil that also pushed me into it, and I have succeeded in putting my family to shame.
“I used to make between N4,000 and N5,000 daily from loading tippers at the Asaba Waterfront, but the owners of the sand brought in some pay loaders which started doing our jobs and I was left with no option but to look for a way to survive.
“The devil used my friend Chukwuka to lure me into kidnapping. I accepted to join him because I needed money to treat myself. I had a damaged kidney and I have no money to take care of myself.
“I used part of my share of the ransom to buy a television set and a home theatre, then I kept the rest for my treatment.
“But I am regretting my action now. This is the first time I would do this. Please, forgive me.”