The Lagos State Police Command on Sunday paraded one of the most wanted kidnap suspects in Nigeria, Chukwudi Onuamadike, who was named the “most wanted kidnap kingpin” in February.
Mr. Onuamadike, 36, popularly known as Evans, was overpowered by the police at his home in Magodo, Lagos, after a gun battle that lasted several hours.
The police said the suspect, who hails from Nnewi in Anambra State, was the leader of a highly organised kidnap-for-ransom syndicate who terrorised prominent Nigerians in Lagos and other parts of western, eastern, south-south, as well as northern Nigeria.
Mr. Onuamadike was first declared wanted in August 2013, when he allegedly masterminded the attempted kidnap of Vincent Obianodo, the owner of Young Shall Grow Motors, in Festac Town.
One police officer and three kidnappers died in the failed attempt.
“Some of Evans gang members were subsequently arrested, but he regrouped after with several gangs and became more vicious and unleashes terror in the mentioned states of the federation,” said Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer.
On Sunday, Mr. Onuamadike was paraded before journalists alongside his alleged accomplices including Chukwuma Nwosu, 42, his third in command; Paul Suoyo, 42; Felix Chinemerem, 36; Ikenna Emeka, 28; Uchechukwu Amadi; and Ogechi Amadi.
The police said the arms and ammunition recovered from them include five AK-47 rifles, one AK-49 rifle; two double-barrel long; two English pistols; 59 AK-47 magazine with ammunition; 1,272 live ammunition of AK-47 (9mm); five different vehicle plate numbers.
Mr. Moshood, a chief superintendent of police, said Mr. Onuamadike and his gang keep their kidnap victims in the Lagos area at House No. 21 Prophet Asaye Close, New Igando.
“Ransom money are paid to him (in) millions of dollars, some victims are kept for upward of six to seven months until the last penny is paid,” Mr. Moshood said.
“None of his gang members know his house.”
Suspects’ mode of operation
In every kidnap attempt, according to the police, Mr. Onuamadike has an armed group with him, while a second armed group collects the victim from them and moves to their hideout.
“The members of the two groups don’t know each other,” Mr. Moshood said.
“They comply with Evans’ instructions. Evans and the dreaded Vampire who died during a gun duel with the Police Special Forces led by IRT and Imo State Police Command in a forest in Rivers State early this year are axis of evil in kidnappings in Southern Nigeria states and some Northern states.
“This is a huge success for the Nigeria Police Force. The Force will build on this success and continue to prevent kidnap cases and criminality generally in the country, and ensure prompt detection of those crimes that cannot be prevented, and also ensure that perpetrators are arrested, investigated and prosecuted.”
The police listed some of the properties owned by Mr. Onuamadike to include two mansions in Magodo GRA Phase 2 worth about N300 million; two houses in a highbrow area in Accra, Ghana; as well as exotic cars, expensive watches, jewelries.
“During interrogation and preliminary investigation, Evans and his gangs confessed to all the kidnappings linked to them and (made) confessional statements to the various roles they played in the commission of the crimes,” Mr. Moshood said.
“They will be charged to court on completion of investigation”
Some of the kidnappings linked to Evans and his gang in Lagos, according to the police:
a. Mbarikatta William Uboma, 35, kidnapped June 16th, 2012 at about 11 a.m. on his arrival from Hungary while he was close to his house. He was in his Toyota Car 2010 model in company of his brother to drop him at his house when a Passat car emerged from nowhere and blocked his car. They blindfolded him and forcefully abducted him to an unknown destination. They later demanded a ransom of N10M. However, N2M was later paid while they collected other personal accessories. He was finally dropped at Okota on the third day.
b. Paul Cole, 34, from Ohafia in Abia State. A Director with Ocean Glory Commodities, Apapa, kidnapped August 3rd, 2012, at Festac Town together with his General Manager, Jude Ugoje and another staff, PiriyeGogo, and taken to an unknown destination. They demanded for N10M. On August 6th 2012, they collected N5M ransom at Maza-maza area of Lagos State.
c. Mohammed Jamal, 22, a Lebanese, kidnapped on August 19, 2012 at Ajah by three armed men, taken away blindfolded. N7M ransom was later paid at Ojo Barracks.
d. Kingsley Nwokenta, 34, kidnapped September 19, 2012 after he left Lebanana Bar in Festac at Mile two under bridge. Later, paid N1.5M ransom while they made away with his black Toyota Venza and other accessories.
e. Anthony Ozoanidobi, 41, kidnapped in October 10th 2012 along Marwa road Satellite Town. Ransom of N1.5M paid after which he was released at Apple Junction, Amuwo-Odofin.
f. Leo Abraham 58, kidnapped August 20, 2012. Paid ransom of N5M and was later released along Badagry road, Lagos.
g. Ojukwu Cosmas, 45, sells Toyota parts at Aspanda Trade Fair, Kidnapped January 21, 2016 at Festac Town. It was not clear when and how he was released.
h. James Uduji; kidnapped close to his house at 7th Avenue Festac late last year. Held for 6 six weeks. Paid $1M.
i. Chief Raymond Okoye – Odu- Na –Ichida, kidnapped 2015. Paid $1 million as ransom, held captive for two months
j. Uche Okoroafor, trader at Alaba, kidnapped 2015, held captive for three (3) months, paid $1 million.
k. Elias Ukachukwu kidnapped November 2015. Paid $1 million. Date of release unknown but it was gathered that his abductors were insisting on another $1 million claiming family members were rude to them during negotiation.
l. Francis Umeh, also a spare parts dealer at Aspanda, kidnapped July 2016 at RajiRasaki Estate, released after two months in captivity.
m. The last victim is Danatus Dunu, kidnapped in Ilupeju February 2017, but escaped from the Igando House where Evans kept him with his boys last month.
Evans Gang Members, according to the police:
i. Felix Chinemerem, 36, native of Arichukwu, Ohafia LGA of Abia State, second in command to Evans.
ii. Nwosu Chikodi Chukwuma aka Sudo, 42, third in command to Evans. He has over 20 years experience in armed robbery and about 8 years experience in kidnapping.
iii. Uchechukwu Amadi, native of Anambra State, longtime Evans boy and head of the detention camp in Igando.
iv. Ogechi Amadi, the woman who rented the house and cooks for the kidnappers and their victims in the camp.
v. Suoyo Paul aka Nwana, 42, native of Bayelsa State, gang member and supplier of rifles and ammunition to Evans.
vi. Ikenna Emeka, 28, native of Anambra State.