Ebonyi state police command has paraded the alleged killers of the three Catholic worshippers at the Immaculate Conception parish in Abakaliki, the state capital a day before last Christmas.
The command equally paraded 15 others in various crimes who are among those who kidnapped some United States returnees in Afikpo local government area of the state.
Acting Police Public Relations Officer of the command, Joshua Ukandu told newsmen during the parade of the suspects that one Friday Igwe and Nnabugwe Ebube were responsible for the murder of three parishioners of Immaculate Catholic Conception parish, Nkwagu in Abakaliki on Christmas Eve.
According to him, “On 24/12/2023, armed men invaded the premises of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Nkwagu and killed Cyril Obinna Mbam, Nwifuru Chukwuebuka Mathew and Alo Onyedikachi Solomon and made away with a black Toyota Corolla belonging to late Obinna Cyril Mbam.
“Operatives of the command swung into action and apprehended Friday Igwe and Nnabugwe Ebube and recovered the Toyota Corolla. The apprehended suspects have provided leads for further arrest”.
Speaking with one of the suspects, Mr Njoku Michael from Abia state narrated how they carried out the crime and that they collected N40 million ransom before freeing the victims.
Njoku said he got 30 dollars from the N40 million ransom and that the ransom was both in dollars and naira.
“We were four persons that carried out the kidnap but it was only two of us that were captured by the police and we don’t know where the others are.
“We didn’t kill anybody, the lady that died was out of fear, we didn’t shoot anybody. The person who involved me in the kidnap of these persons we kidnapped in Ebonyi didn’t disclose it to me.
“The man that involved me is a Fulani man, he is my customer. He buys things from me in my shop where I sell provisions,” he said
He added: “The man came to my shop on 13th December 2023 with his cattle. I told him, Alhaji, you have many cows now o. he told me, yes, the cows are mine. I pleaded with him to borrow me N50,000 and promised to pay him back in February this year. He told me that he had no money and promised to get back to me.
“Five days later, the man came back to me, he didn’t come back with his cattle this time around. He told me that he wanted to carry me to work in Afikpo, Ebonyi state and I had never been to Afikpo before.
” I asked him the type of work he wants to carry me and he told me it was manure work, that he wants me to bag it and if I worked hard, I would earn N30,000 or N40,000 in four days. I said okay and called my brother to take care of my shop so that I could follow the Alhaji and go for that work.
“I followed the man to Afikpo and we got to Afikpo on that new year in the evening. He bought me food and lodged me in a hotel.
In the morning, he stopped the bike and told me to join him on the bike and he took me to a thick forest and told me that he was coming back. He went and brought two of his brothers and kept them with me. He didn’t tell me what we wanted to do and it was evening period.
“He left us and came back with a bag. When he turned it on the ground, it was a gun and a cloth. I asked him what we were going to do with the gun, he asked me I think you said you are looking for money, this is the time we are going to look for the money. He prepared himself finished and told us to follow him we got to a bush path where he ordered us to stay in a corner in that bush path.
“When we were in the bush, he saw a jeep coming and shot in the air. The vehicle stopped and he attacked the vehicle and opened it.
“There were two men and one woman and he ordered the two men and one woman out on the ground and told them to follow us. He was at the front directing us and we followed him to a thick forest. We trekked for two hours before we got to the thick forest”.