Crack detectives from Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Anambra State Police command have exposed a hotel suspected to be haven for kidnappers. Led by the Commander of the SARS, James Okafor (SP), the police team stormed the hotel in Awka area and arrested four suspected kidnappers.
The hotel was alleged to have been a major haven for kidnappers who used it to camp their victims and to negotiate ransoms.
According to Crimewatch investigation, the hotel has remained a fortress for the men of the underworld until August 3, 2012 when the bubble burst following the abduction of banker in Onitsha.
The banker was kidnapped and driven in his Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) to the hotel.
After a successful negotiation, the suspected kidnappers allegedly collected N500,000 ransom and released the victim who immediately blew the whistle on the activities of the gang.
Following the complaints lodged at Ogidi Police Station, which was immediately transmitted to the state command, the Commissioner of Police, Balla Nasarawa, immediately ordered the men of the SARS under the command of Nwafor to join the Ogidai Police Division to raid the hotel.
The combined police team, according to investigation, arrived at the hotel at 3am and immediately cordoned off its surrounding.
The suspected kidnappers were still celebrating their success when the crime busters stormed the hotel in a commando like operation.
“They had no chance to muster any resistance. They were still relaxing with exotic wines when the police came in to raid the hotel,” said a source at the scene.
CP Nasarawa, while describing the arrest of the four men as a major breakthrough, said the police have received several complaints about the activities of criminals, particularly kidnappers, from the people in the area.
He explained that the same gang attempted to kidnap Chief Eze Rome Owuka along Rojenna Hotel at Oba but he was rescued at the scene by SARS operatives.
Crimewatch visited the hideout at the hotel, which had been sealed up on the order of the Governor Peter Obi.
One of those who reside close to the hotel, Azuka Nwaforgwa, said that he had been living in the area for about six years.
“I know the owner of the hotel. The hotel is always bubbling. Nobody thought that they keep kidnapping victims in the hotel.” he said.
One of the suspected kidnappers, Chime Chinedu Eze, confessed that they kidnapped the victim from Onitsha and moved him to their hide-out where they kept him.
Eze said: “I am the one who drove the victim straight to the hotel. My gang started negotiation with the victim and he paid N500,000. Later, we wanted to sell the Jeep and I advised them that they should not sell the car, but our gang leader insisted.
“I was eating and drinking when the SARS team stormed the hotel and arrested us.
“It is the hotel that we used to keep our victims after the kidnapping and we negotiate with the victim’s family from the hotel.”
Another suspect, Udensinna Onyeka , 70, who disclosed his role in the gang operation as keeper of the victim, said: “I am part of the kidnappers. My major role is to keep the kidnappers in our hideouts and later I collected my own share.”
CP Nasarawa stated that the residents of Umusiome Nkpor area have experienced armed robbery in their community.
“But they never thought that there is hotel where the kidnappers always keep their victims in the area until we burst the place,” he said.
He said that the four kidnappers are still under investigation. DAILYSUN