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“I Am Destined To Be A Pastor, Kidnapping Is A Temporary Job” – Arrested Criminal Confesses



February 21st, 2022 — The 33-year-old Ugochukwu Mbah’s expression described him deeply remorseful. According to him, If he hadn’t neglected his conscience, he would have stopped kidnapping before his arrest.

But now, Mr. Mbah and four other suspects – Kenneth Levi, 32; Onyema Uzodinma, 31; Udochukwu Nwanguma, 37, and Nduka Nwankwo, 25, are in police custody.

They are said to have confessed to a series of kidnappings in Imo and Abia states. They were arrested by the Inspector General of the Special Police Intelligence Team led by CSP Abba Kyari.

After his arrest, the father-of-one, Mr. Mbah, from Mbaise, Imo State, spoke to reporters, hinged his push into kidnapping out of frustration, and said his previous ventures yielded no results. He said he had to take part in a kidnapping at his friend’s suggestion.

He said as the only son of his father, who had three wives and 15 children, he faced many family problems. According to his own statements, he was even forced to travel to Angola in search of greener pastures in 2012, after which he was deported.

Mbah said, “They said that I do not have up to N1m in my account. They said if I did not have enough money, that I was likely going to commit a crime. It was the Igbo community that conspired against me. I genuinely wanted to do business there but they refused. Back in Nigeria, I was broke and since all my efforts to live a good life were frustrated, I decided to survive by any possible means.

“The only person who gave me accommodation when I came back home was Richard (now in prison) and he was the one who brought me to Owerri. He told me what he was doing for a living and the need to return to Owerri for full-time kidnapping. He introduced me to Nduka as a capable hand. I assisted them to raise money to buy enough equipment (guns) needed for the job.”

After selling stolen cars and being involved in numerous kidnapping operations, Mbah said he transitioned from selling stolen cars to full-time kidnapping.

He said in his statement that his first job was the kidnapping of a female teacher who was driving a Toyota Highlander. He said they were able to recover N17,000 from her while he drove the SUV to Abia state where he sold the car for N300,000. Mbah said the woman’s husband is a pensioner who cannot pay the ransom because he has not been paid by the state government.

Discussing his recent operation where they made N1m from a Nigerian kidnapping victim based in South Africa, Mbah said: “On January 7, 2016, when we were patrolling MCC Road, close to Toronto roundabout in Owerri, we spotted the man driving an exotic car. We kidnapped him. After many days of negotiation, his family paid the ransom of N1m.”

About what led to his arrest, Mbah recalled that a phone call from Richard was the beginning of his downfall. He said Richard called to tell him about an operation, but he refused to take the call because he was praying.

He continued, “I realized that God allowed Richard to call while I was praying with my family to use that to warn me to stop crime. I am destined to be a pastor; it’s just that I have not accepted my calling. Kidnapping was just a temporary job for me. Now, I preach to my co-inmates. Some of them have even given their lives to Christ.”

On his part, Nwankwo said he used to sell second-hand clothes in Aba before he was introduced to the kidnapping business. He also explained that he told his initiators that he would do anything to make money and save himself from poverty.

“After we kidnapped the South Africa-based man, I was just living my life when police came and raided our area. They found me with cocaine. I called Ugochukwu from the police cell not knowing that they had arrested him,” he added.

Meanwhile, the kidnapping victim, Victor Ogadinma said he was in Nigeria during the Christmas period to see his family.

He said, “I was in the front of my house waiting for my family members to open the gate when three heavily armed men accosted me and forced me out of the car to the back seat. It was around 7.30 pm, and my wife came out while they were struggling to push me into the car but they pushed her down.

“I told them I had N220,000 and $2,000 and some European currencies. I was picked on January 7 and released on January 10. They offered me food but I chose to drink only water.”

The suspect, whose home was used to shelter the victim, Nwanguma, said he held the victim in his mother’s kitchen because she was not around.

He said out of the N70,000 he received, he gave N50,000 to his brother and N10,000 to his wife.

“I pray that government should forgive me because of my children,” Nwankwo said.

Efforts are being made to apprehend the other members of the group who are on the run, according to a police source.

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