Police at Force Headquarters, yesterday, paraded nine kidnap suspects of the wife of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Margaret Emefiele, just as the kidnappers disclosed that N80 million was collected as ransom. Disclosing that they didn’t initially know the status of the victim they had abducted, the kidnappers said that on learning about the identity of Mrs. Emefiele, they initially demanded N1.6 billion, but later negotiated the sum down to N100 million.
Each of the soldiers admitted to collecting N6.5 million each, but claimed they only assisted other members of the gang to ferry the huge sum to Benin, Edo State. Briefing newsmen on the arrest of the culprits, who all confessed to the crime, Force Public Relations Officer, Don Awunah, said that the suspects included two serving Nigerian Army personnel attached to a fighting regiment in Maiduguri.
They are Lance Corporal Musa Maidabra and Lance Corporal Edwin George, as well as a dismissed soldier, Ernest Anthony Uduefe. Other members of the gang are the leader, Mohammed Abubakar, alias Dogo, Mohammed Musa, Mohammed Sule, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Aliyu Musa and Mohammed Yusuf. N14.7 million, two newly-bought Honda cars, an Audi car and one AK-47 magazine and two cartridges were recovered from the kidnappers.
On their individual roles, the FPRO said: “Lance Corporal Maidabra, serving in 122D/30 Regiment in Maiduguri admitted to being part of the gang. An SUV worth N1.5 million and N4.5 million cash, which was part of his share, were recovered from him. “It was also discovered that he, in company of Lance Corporal Edwin George and dismissed soldier, Ernest Uduefe, while dressed in Army uniform, escorted the kidnappers and the ransom money in a maroon-coloured Audi car out of the forest where they had kept the victim, to Benin, Edo State.
“For Lance Corporal George, serving at 122D Regiment in Maiduguri, a Honda car worth N1.1 million, which he used part of his loot to buy, was recovered from him. He was arrested in Benue State. ‘I furnished my apartment’ “Ernest Anthony, a native of Igbuku village, Ndokwa East LGA of Delta State revealed that he bought a Honda car worth N1.5 million and furnished his apartment in Benin within 48 hours of the kidnap incident. N1.5 million cash and the car were recovered from him.
“Mohammed Abubakar, leader of the gang, who hails from Adamawa State, received N11 million cash as his share of the ransom paid. He said he gave one Danjuma, who is presently on the run, the said amount to keep for him. “Mohammed Musa, the deputy leader of the gang, who hails from Sokoto State, said he received N10million from the ransom paid.” Police said during the gun battle with security personnel, Musa attempted to escape into the forest but was shot.
The police spokesman added: “N7.7 million was recovered from him and it was the useful information got from him that led to the arrest of other members of the gang. “Mohammed Sule, from Nasarawa State, got N10 million as part of his share, but claimed that a soldier and another gang leader escaped with the loot. “Ibrahim Abdullahi from Niger State admitted he received N10million, while Aliyu Musa and Mohammed Yusuf were picked up for other roles they played.”