By Franklin Ihejirika, Lagos
What could be the justification for a young man who has a thriving business and a supporting family to go into kidnapping, if not greed?
The Bible asks: What it shall profit a man if he gains the world and at the end loses his soul? Nothing.
People in a bid to acquire wealth sometimes take some unnecessary risks which they end up regretting.
More so, when people are not content with what they have and continue to strive to acquire more illegally, it is bound to spell doom for them.
This was the story of Ikenna Agunwa, not real name, told by his business associates who wanted to help rescue him in the big mess he got himself into, not knowing that there is more to that than they anticipated.
Ikenna had a thriving business which he used as camouflage; the shop well stocked with goods is located in a busy business district of Benin City.
He had a lovely wife and two children, including some of the good things of life, but all that was not enough for him.
Instead, he got involved in an unscrupulous business with some trained boys who work for him while he acts as their godfather.
According to one of Ikenna’s business associates who does a similar business, they were all doing well before their colleague ventured into another business which was unknown to his associates.
Ikenna, together with his four of his boys aged between 24 and 29, was into kidnapping.
They have kidnapped so many people in the past and ransom running into million were paid to them, even some of their victims died while in captivity, the source said.
“So their cups were filled and running over with their atrocities and the clock was ticking fast for them to bring their wicked sojourn on earth to an end. Just like a normal Friday, the four boys went to a party to enjoy themselves and after that, they were coming from the party with the belief that as big boys in town with few millions in their pockets made from kidnapping, they can crush anybody who dares challenge them or stand in their way. So on their way back from the party in a very busy junction where there was traffic, they encountered a man who struggled for right of way with them and nearly scratched their car. Due to youthful exuberance, two of them jumped down from their car in anger and dealt the young man devastating blows and the man who was left with no choice started shouting Kidnappers, kidnappers and immediate people gathered to know who the kidnappers were, this degenerated into chaos as some police men were called in, but on sighting the police men, two of the boys ran away. While some other motorists who witnessed what happened had to explain the situation to the police and this was corroborated by the man who raised the false alarm, saying that they wanted to kill him, so he had no option than to raise that alarm so as to attract people to intervene in the matter so that the boys will not make a piece meal out of him. But the police officers who were amazed on why the other two boys had to run decided to detain the remaining two boys until the other two that ran away come and explain why they had to run since they did not commit any offence”, the source emphasised.
He narrated further that, “they were taken to the police station and were detained for some hours pending when the two run away boys will report to the station. The police was also doing this as a way of collecting bail money from the four boys.
But after they were instructed to call the two other boys by the police, the runaway boys refused to report to the station, so the others boys now under police custody decided to involve their godfather to appeal to the runaway boys to report to the station as the police has no case against them.
But the godfather on getting the whole information on what transpired decided to intervene by advising the boys to report to the police station and they complied. So now he was involved in the matter in order not to let the case go more than that.
But after their interrogation by the police on why they decided to run, the police decided to grant them bail with N20,000 each. So the godfather was aggrieved that the amount was too high as the boys did not commit any offence to warrant bail of such amount, based on that, he said no, that he will not pay, that he can only pay N10,000 each for the four boys which amounts to N40, 000 and the police refused. Based on that, the boys were held back. But when he finally decided to cough out the N80,000, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, became aware of the case, and having been reprimanded and sanctioned heavily before he was transferred to his new station for releasing suspected kidnappers without proper verification, the DPO suspected that something was fishy about the whole matter especially if the so called godfather is willing to pay N80, 000 for the boys. So he decided to keep the boys back for more days, and this made the godfather to become more desperate. So he decided to offer N200, 000 to free the boys immediately, suspecting that the delay in releasing the boys could be more dangerous.
But the DPO decided to use torture to interrogate the four boys more, detaining them in different rooms and they started singing like birds that they were members of a kidnapping syndicate that specialized in kidnapping rich people for ransom and that Ikenna is their godfather in crime.
In the process of their interrogation, it was discovered that the gang had even kidnapped and killed a lot of people in the state, especially those who refused to comply. Armed with this information, Ikenna, the godfather was invited to come and pay the N200, 000 and take his boys away and the godfather came with the belief that the boys did not release any secret to the police, knowing that the consequences are grave. He came and was arrested and was forced to face the boys’ one on one to accuse each other. Here the boys confessed that their own is to go and kidnap while their godfather will rent the guns, give them information on who to kidnap and at the end, the godfather will go and collect the ransom himself and bring it back for sharing.”
The source narrated further that they were shocked when Ikenna’s wife decided to involve them when the case was getting out of hand to help rescue her husband.
According to him, “at the police station, we learnt that our business associate was neck deep into crime, the boys were confessing from one kidnap case to the other saying, ‘in this location, you told us they paid N3million instead of the agreed N5million for ransom and we agreed and in the sharing you removed N1million for the guns and we shared N2million, not knowing that you were using our brains that you have already removed N2 million.
In the other one you shortchanged us by telling us they paid N4 million instead of the agreed N6million, you removed one million for the guns and we shared 3million which you got the lion share, including the two million naira you removed.’
This was the situation we found ourselves, so embarrassing to find out that Ikenna was neck deep into crime. We leant that after negotiating for ransom, Ikenna will on his own go to the agreed location to pick the money, even in some occasions, he was confronted by police who shot severally at him, but it will not hurt him as he picks the money and escape. This was because he fortified himself against guns that no matter how long you shoot at him, he will escape unhurt.”
He explained further that, “so on our own we were planning on how he can get a soft landing even if it means jail sentences for some years, but after going for the case for some time, one of the Police officers who was close to me, called me one day and explained to me that we should forget about the young man because he will not be released alive.
He confided in me that the four boys whom one of them was an only son were killed few weeks back, that they could not secede in killing Ikenna because guns could not penetrate his body as he had fortified himself with juju against gunshots, knowing the kind of business he does.
That the police decided to kill them after confirming that they were serial kidnappers instead of taken them to court.”
According to him, the police man who told me the story of what happened said after the gun failed to kill Ikenna, the police dug a grave, put him there and then poured concentrated acid on him before covering him with sand.
So with the situation we had to go home and console the family especially the wife to take heart as this will always be the faith of young men who are driven by greed and urge to make money at all cost not minding the consequence, he concluded.