Kidnappers target bank chiefs in Bayelsa, collect N140m from two victims as ransom

By Chris Ezeonoh, Port Harcourt

Police authorities in Bayelsa say kidnappers now target bank staff from whom they collect heavy sums of money as ransom.

State Police Commissioner, Ben Nebolisa Okolo, who disclosed this on Monday during a press conference at the command’s headquarters in Yenagoa, said dare-devil kidnappers, who abducted two managers of new generation banks in the state, took N140 million from the two victims as ransom.

The commissioner said, “On 8th December, 2020, one Akeeb Oladele Olushola ‘m’ 48 years and a manager of a new generation bank, was kidnapped at his residence at Old Commissioners Quarters, Opolo, he was released on 12th December after paying a ransom of eighty (N80) million naira.

“Similarly, Danjuma Omeje 41 years, a manager of a new generation bank in Yenagoa, was kidnapped at his residence at Okaka, Yenagoa, on 30th June, 2022, he was released on 14th July, 2022, after paying a ransom of 60 million naira. Thirty (N30) million naira cash and US dollar equivalent of thirty (N30) million naira.”

The commissioner, however, said the operatives of Operation Restore Peace through painstaking investigation, arrested some of the suspects linked to the kidnap incidents and other criminal activities in the state.

Among the suspects who were paraded at the command headquarters include, Emmanuel Charles Angase ‘m’ 37 years, a native of Azuzuama Community, Southern Ijaw LGA, the leader of the kidnapping gang.

Bayelsa State Police Commissioner, Ben Nebolisa Okolo say’s kidnappers now target bank staff from whom they collect heavy sums of money

According to the commissioner, the suspect operates a kidnapping camp at Sunikiri creek near Oluasiri in Nembe Local Government Area with his second in command, one Gbalipre Gamage now at large. He said police operatives recovered a brand new Toyota Avalon he bought for his wife with the proceeds of ransom he collected.

The commissioner further disclosed that the gang leader has confessed that on 30th June, 2022, at about 0600 hours, himself, John Ewa and others at large, accosted Danjuma Omeje at the entrance of his house at Okaka, kidnapped him and fled in a blue Toyota Corolla car with Reg. No. KJA 225 AY.

“They took the victim to his camp at Sunikiri Oluasiri and released him on 14th July 2022 after collecting Sixty 60 million ransom.

“The suspect also confessed to the kidnap of Akeeb Oladele Olusola, a banker, who was kidnapped on 26th December 2015. He also confessed to the kidnap of Chinonso Eze and other Igbo businessmen,” the commissioner added.

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Other suspects paraded include, John Ikechukwu Ewa ‘m’ 30 years, aka John Lion, a native of Eruan Community in Boki LGA, Cross River State.

The commissioner said the suspect is known for a flamboyant lifestyle on Social Media, a former cleaner with a new generation bank who confessed to have collected Ten (10) Thousand US dollars from the ransom collected from the kidnap of Danjuma Omeje.

Innocent Kingsley ‘m’ 31 years, a native of Egbu Community, Etche LGA, Rivers State, and owner of a blue Toyota Corolla Car with Reg. No. KJA 225 AY and one Timi Werikumo ‘m’ 21 years, a native of Azuzuama Community in Southern Ijaw LGA, Bayelsa State, were also paraded among the kidnap suspects.

For suspects paraded for murder and cultism, the commissioner said, “On 3rd June 2022 at about 2000hrs, Operatives of Operation Restore Peace responded to a distress call that there was a cult clash between Greenlanders and Bobos Cult groups at Obele Street, Yenagoa.

“On arrival at the scene, the Police team met some suspects attacking one Kenus Ibomo. On sighting the Police team, the suspects ran away, they were pursued to their hideout at Arietelin and the following suspects were arrested, Richard Derigha ‘m’ 36 years, Charles Francis ‘m’ 25 years, Collins Ugochukwu ‘m’ 28 years, Timipa Perewari ‘m’ 22 years and Clement Demepo ‘m’ 23 years.

“They all confessed to the killing of the victim and agreed to membership of Bobos Cult Group. A locally made pistol, Black Beret and other cult insignia were recovered from the suspects”.

The police chief also said that one Gift Lucky Sotonye 24th years and one other now at large on 17th April, 2022, at about 1945 hours, robbed one Ogechi Rosemary ‘f’ and Gift Ogunleye ‘f’ at Azikoro Village.

He said a discreet investigation led to the arrest of the suspect while three itel phones, a locally made double barrel gun and locally made single barrel gun and two (2) Live Cartridges were recovered from the suspects.

For those engaged in pipeline vandalism, the police boss said, “On 18th September 2022 at above 1545 hours, Operatives of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps attached to Labrador Security outfit arrested three (3) suspected Pipeline Vandals namely; Jonah Geoffrey ‘m’ 37 years, a native of Okoroma, Clement Suoyo ‘m’ 30 years, a native of Fantuo and Destiny Clement, a native of Fantuo all in Nembe Local Government Area.

“The suspects were handed over to the Police for further investigation. Items recovered from the suspects includes three (3) new Walkie-Talkie for easy communication, two (2) rolls of Big Hose, one (1) well head. Investigation is ongoing.”

He said all the suspects would be charged to court at the conclusion of investigation.

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