The notorious kidnap gang leader, Chukwudi Onuamadike, a.k.a Evans, who was arrested, weekend, in Lagos, stunned the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, during interrogation when he pleaded passionately, in tears, that he should be given a second chance to change to a better person, and become a born-again Christian.
Wanted kidnapper, Evans, real names Chukwudi Onuamadike, was yesterday paraded by the Police after his arrest. PiC 1: Evans speaking with newsmen. PiC 2: His arsenal. Notice the secateur before a rifle. In the foreground are manacles he used to immobilize his victims. PiC 3: Members of his gang — from left, Nwosu Chikodi, a.k.a Sudo, Suoyo Paul, a.k.a. Nwana, Chinemere Felix, Ikenna Emeka, Uche Amadi, and Ogechi Amadi, who cooked for kidnap victims. PIC 4: One of the houses Evans built with proceeds of his kidnap business, in Magodo area of Lagos. Photos by Ifeanyi Okolie.
This was just minutes before he was paraded by the Force Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh, with six members of his gang, including a married woman, described as their cook, at Command Headquarters, Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday.
‘How I became a kidnapper’
“My friend, known as Hunch Man, introduced me into kidnapping and after a few operations during Peter Obi’s administration, we were forced to leave the state and we moved to Edo State. I had some boys from Warri, Delta State, working with me.
“We carried out two big kidnappings where our victims paid N80m and N100million respectively. In 2013, I came to Lagos and I went straight to Festac Town. Before I came to Festac, I had already established contacts with some boys. One of the jobs we did was that of the owner of Young Shall Grow Motors, Chief Vincent Obianodo.
“One guy, known as Emeka, brought the job and we were five that went for that operation — Hunch Man, Nmamdi, Uche, Nwoke and I. I was the one driving and our target was to kill Young Shall Grow’s driver and his police orderly. Hunch Man, Uche Nnamdi and Nwoke were carrying guns and they were the people who fired at Young Shall Grow.
“Hunch Man and Uche were killed during the attack, while Nnamdi, Nwoke and I survived. That operation was my most bloody operation. I didn’t know it was going to turn out that way. I usually don’t know names of people I kidnapped in Festac. But if I see them, I will tell you what I did to them. I have people who gave me information about my victims.
“The pharmacist job is the only one that gave us a problem. The highest ransom I collected was $1million dollars from somebody living in Festac. I keep my victims for months because I want their people to pay the ransom I demanded. I have people cooking for my victims, one of who stays in the house; his name is Uche.
“The other boy is from Aguleri. The boy is a new person, but Uche is old. I usually pay Uche N20million for every operation. I usually make the calls for the ransom. I have six boys in Lagos. My mother does not come to my house and she also knows that I am into crime but she is not in support.
“I bought this house for N130million and I have two houses in Magodo. My house in Ghana is bigger than this. I don’t kill.
Evans has evaded arrest since 2013
Evans has evaded arrest since August, 2013 when he was declared wanted by the Police after the aborted kidnap attempt of the owner of Young Shall Grow Motors’, Chief Vincent Obianodo, at FESTAC, which he masterminded. He was arrested by the Joint Special Forces, led by the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, the Lagos State Police Command’s Anti-Kidnapping Unit and Technical and Intelligence Unit of the Force.
According to a police source, Evans was the only surviving member of the gang as three of his gang members were killed by the Policeman attached to the victim who later lost his life in the process.
However, Evans later regrouped and continued to carry out more vicious attacks on Lagos residents, and was alleged to have engaged in high-profile kidnap cases in Lagos, and collects his ransom in foreign currencies.
He never negotiated down his ransom, always insisting he would not release his prey until the last kobo was paid.
Addressing newsmen during the parade, the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP Jimoh Moshood, gave the names of other gang members as 42- year- old Nwosu Chikodi Chukwuma, a.k.a Sudo, who is the third in command to Evans, Suoyo Paul, a.k.a Nwana, 42; Felix Chinemerem, 36, a native of Arochuchukwu, is said to be Evan’s second in command; Ikenna Emeka, 28; Uchechukwu Amadi and Ogechi Amadi who the Police alleged cooked for their victims.
He said: “On the 10th of June, 2017, the police raided the criminal fortress of the suspect, a native of Umudim in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State who is responsible for the kidnap of notable and prominent Nigerians in Lagos as well as Western, Eastern, South-South and some Northern states.
‘’After an intense gun battle which lasted several hours, his gang was overpowered by the superior fire power of the Joint Special Force and was finally arrested at Magodo Estate, Ikeja area of Lagos.”
Arms and ammunitions recovered from the gang, according to the Force spokesman, include; five AK-47 Riffle, one AK-49 Riffle, two Double Barrel Long, two English Pistols, fifty-Nine AK-47 magazines with ammunition, 1,272 live ammunition of AK-47 (9mm), five different plate numbers while other weapons are still being recovered from his different criminal hideouts in different parts of the states.
Members of his gang — from left, Nwosu Chikodi, a.k.a Sudo, Suoyo Paul, a.k.a. Nwana, Chinemere Felix, Ikenna Emeka, Uche Amadi, and Ogechi Amadi,
How Evans organized his kidnapping activities
Evans is said to have separate gang members, many of whom he does not know. He is also said to be the most intelligent and coordinated kidnap kingpin in Nigeria. He has 12 mobile phones and four other powerful phones, one of which cost about N2.5 million.
A police source who confided in Vanguard, said: “Evans uses one phone for his wife and one for each person he does business with. All his gang members have their phones. Gang A has its phone, Gang B has its phone, his business associates have their phones and he does not use the phone belonging to another gang to call the other. Their numbers are not even saved in other phones. He uses his children and wife’s names to acquire properties and not his real name.
“His properties include two luxurious mansions in Magodo G.R.A Phase 2, worth about N300m, two houses in the highbrow area of Accra in Ghana, among many other properties such as exotic cars, expensive watches, jewelleries and so on. In his kidnap attacks, Evans has a separate armed group that abducts victims for him and hands them over to another group that takes the victims to hideouts. Members of the two groups don’t know each other. They complied with his instructions strictly.
According to CSP Moshood; “Evans and his gang not only confessed to all the kidnappings linked to them but stated the various roles they played in the commission of the crimes during interrogation and preliminary investigation. They will be charged to court on completion of investigation.”
When he was interviewed by newsmen, Evans narrated his exploits: “I started kidnapping in 2008 and one Louise whom I met in a restaurant in Lagos, sometimes ago, was the one that supplied me with arms and ammunition. Apart from kidnapping, I have been into drug business where I made most of my money. Before I started kidnapping, I was a businessman, leaving my business for kidnapping was my personal choice. I also do drug business. I live in Lagos; I am not living out of the country.”
Asked why he has been arrested now after evading arrest for so long, he said: “Everything has its own time.”
He also denied the allegation that he has an uncompleted property in Onitsha where he keeps some of his hostages. “I am just asking for another chance, I am sorry for my action, I will become a Christian, if only I have another chance. I cannot remember the number of people I have kidnapped so far. I took part in high profile kidnappings in Edo State where I got N10million as my share.”
Gang members speak
Uchechukwu Amadi said to be a long time ally of Evans, said: “I knew Evans for the past five years; I used to work for him when he was into pure water business at Maza-Maza area of Lagos.
“He was into pure water manufacturing business before I left for Port Harcourt. I am married with a 12 year-old child. One day, Evans called me to meet him in Lagos, and he told me, he was going to provide accommodation for me. I now sent him my wife’s account number to send the money before I came to Lagos to meet him.
“I have not got any money from him since I came, apart from the one he later sent to one Ngozi, who paid the rent for my family to relocate to Lagos.
“My wife is not part of this, she is not involved in anyway. Ngozi paid the money directly to the landlady and she was the one that was bringing the money to us for upkeep of the victim.
“Sometimes, Emeka would go somewhere and meet with Evans where he would give him the money. I was the one that was taking care of the victim. I only did one job with him, he even threatened to kill me when the victim escaped.
“He said I am the one that put him into all the mess he is now passing through. It was one Emeka and I that were in charge of the victim. I was only there for two months. When this thing happened, I asked him to give me money but he said, he is not through with the man and that, he cannot give me money until he is through.”
Corroborating, her husband’s story, Ogechi Amadi told Vanguard that she was aware that her husband was a friend to Evans but not in any way involved in their activities.
“Ngozi was the one that paid for the house; she is also the one cooking for them,’’ she said.
Visit to Magodo
The tranquillity enjoyed by residents of Fred Shoboyede Street, off Bashiru Shittu Road, Magodo Phase 2, Lagos, was shattered Sunday, as policemen armed to the teeth stormed house 3, a five-bedroom duplex, home to most wanted kidnap kingpin in the country, Evans.
One of the houses Evans built with proceeds of his kidnap business, in Magodo area of Lagos. Photos by Ifeanyi Okolie
Residents of the highbrow estate gathered at the entrance of the gate to Evans’ house, to have a clear glance of the man who had lived amidst them and was said to have masterminded the kidnapping of several wealthy persons, and collected ransom to the tune of $1million from each of his victims.
They expressed disbelief as Evans, who they thought was a successful businessman, was brought in handcuffs to his house by Policemen. During a chat, they called for improved security within the estate and proper screening of people moving into the estate.
One of them who spoke with Vanguard on the condition of anonymity stated: “This estate management needs to start conducting proper checks on people who want to reside in this estate. You have to show us proof of what you do and your tax returns. With that we will know what you earn and if we don’t have these proofs, we will not allow you reside in our estate.”
Another resident who spoke with Vanguard from the balcony of his apartment said he does not know he was living next to a deadly criminal.
According to the neighbour who didn’t give his name; “I don’t know he is kidnapper, perhaps he doesn’t associate much with people. He is always driving in and out and he seldom speaks with his neighbours. Even when he is at the car wash, he sits in his vehicle, keeps the engine running while the vehicle is being washed. I have never suspected him because I felt he was just living his life not until policemen trailed him to his house.”