On the 10th of June, the Nigerian police announced to the general public that they had arrested and detained the suspected kidnap kingpin Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike, also known as, Evans and six of his accomplices.
Evans and his gang members were paraded on Sunday 11th June at the headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood.
CSP Jimoh told reporters that the arrest was made after a gun battle between the kingpin’s gang and the Joint Special Forces led by the Intelligence Response Team at his residence in Magodo GRA Phase 2 in Lagos state.
The Lagos state police made it known that Evans, a 36-year-old native of Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra state is the ferocious leader of the highly organised kidnap syndicate and criminal gang responsible for the kidnap of prominent Nigerians in Lagos and many states across the country.
Having been on the police watch list for seven years, Evans was first declared wanted in August 2013 for allegedly masterminding the attempted kidnap of the owner of Young Shall Grow Motors, Vincent Obianudo, in FESTAC, Lagos. After the death of three of his gang members and a failed attempt by the police to apprehend him, Evans retreated and regrouped incorporating more members to become even more ferocious.
The police said they had made several attempts to apprehend him in the past – including putting out a ransom of N30million for anyone who had any information on his whereabouts. Even though there were no documented cases of received information over the years, it was revealed that the arrest was made after months of information gathering and tip-offs.
About 12 profiled kidnap cases have been linked to this syndicate group – including that of Paul Cole, a Director with Ocean Glory Commodities, Apapa, together with his General Manager, Jude Ugoje and another staff, Piriye Gogo and that of Chief Raymond Okoye (Odu – na – ichida).
Millions of Naira in form of ransom payments were collected by the group over the course of seven years.
The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Police Command Force further stated that the group has confessed to these crimes and are ready to bear the necessary consequences.
“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 the investigation.”
It is important to note that there has been a level of controversy surrounding this recent capture. Many have commended the police for a job well done, while others continue to echo their displeasure on the incompetence of the police in handling the situation these past four years. But the most plaguing question in the hearts of the populace is what’s next? Will these criminals be sentenced to prison or given the death penalty?
However, Mr Moshood has explained that the police intends to build on this capture to checkmate kidnapping in the country.
“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,” he said.
The authorities are hopeful that this arrest would go a long way to show Nigerians that justice can still be served, no matter how long it takes. Therefore this development calls for a more united front against crimes in our society as having a peaceful society is a collective effort of both the armed forces and the citizens at large.