A kidnap suspect has confessed that he needed money to pay the bride price of his pregnant girlfriend.
Chukwudi who was arrested alongside other members of the gang including Joseph Chiaotu, aka Ejima, 21, Anozie Chinonso, 25 and Chukwuma Agim, a 27-year-old who is a prison official, in connection with the kidnap of a woman in the state, said he urgently needed money to pay the bride price of his pregnant girlfriend.
Confessing to the police, Chukwudi said he was studying Mechanical Engineering at Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State, before he dropped out in his final year.
“What led me into kidnapping was unfortunate. My girlfriend is pregnant and I have been under pressure to pay her bride price but I had no money.
She told me that since she became pregnant, her mother had been ostracised by her fellow women in their village. The pressure was too much that I needed to look for money by all means.
When the pressure was becoming unbearable, I contacted two of my friends, Nnamdi, who is now in prison, and Chiboy, who later introduced me to Agim for the trade.
Agim, being a prison official, was the one making way for us whenever we approached a police check point but our first operation was not successful because the person we targeted escaped.
But on the second operation, Chiboy went with a policeman and they kidnapped the woman.
My job was to take food to the victim in the bush and I was given N100,000 as my share from the ransom they collected. Chiboy told me that he got only N1.1m from the woman but when we were arrested, the woman told us she paid N3m as ransom.
The moment I got my own share, I gave my girlfriend part of it to start the preparation for the wedding while I went to the market to buy drinks. That was when I got a call from Agim and when I met him I was arrested.”
Agim, the prison official who hails from Imo State, said he was lured into the trade by an inmate, Nnamdi, and used his own share of the ransom money to buy clothes, settle his debts and fix his car.
Agim recalled that when he was posted to the Owerri prison, his mother, who was also serving in the prison, warned him to be wary of one inmate, named Vampire, and his friends so as not to get into trouble. He maintained that he was reluctant when Nnamdi approached him but that he later found the offer attractive.
“I was in my final year student in Imo State University where I was studying Insurance. I was earning N43,000 monthly as a prison official and I was even thankful because I didn’t join the Service with a first degree.
When I came for industrial attachment last year, our chief warder told us that there was a notorious kidnapper called Vampire who was arrested and would be brought to Owerri Prison.
Early this year I met Nnamdi who was in the same cell with Vampire. Nnamdi first asked me to get him a phone and he offered me N3,000 but I refused. So, he met another officer who got him the phone. They kept pressurising me that they wanted us to be friends.
So, one day, we sat behind the food store and they told me several stories about their escapade in kidnapping and I found it attractive. They told me they were rich people and they used to visit several popular bars in major towns in the South East and South South states and that when they observe rich people leaving the bar, they go after them and kidnap them.
At the end of the disussion, thy gav me a number and told me that with the number, I would be able to link other members, including Chiboy, aka Eze Ekudeley, whom he called a big kidnapper, Ejima and Chukwudi.
We also had a policeman in the team who provided easy passage for us. On the day we picked the woman, she was not the main target but she was traced to her house where she was picked.
It was Nnamdi who called me to go and look after the woman in the bush. I borrowed money from a friend and used it to buy food for the woman. I gave the food to Uzordima to give to the woman.
I learnt the woman stayed for two days. I was given N100, 000 after the N1.1m ransom was collected. I bought clothes, settled my debt and fixed my car.
I was arrested few days after the operation. It was Ejima who led them to me. I regret getting myself into this mess.”