Loveday Amanze and his nine-man gang of kidnappers have been nabbed by men of the iRT. This deadly gang have become notorious for kidnapping, but were arrested by the Operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in Aba in Abia State.
The suspects have been on the Police wanted list since the kidnap of Peter Onwubuariri on the 8th of January 2022, along Gas Line by Uratha Express Road in Aba, Abia State, but later regained freedom. In his abduction, Loveday Amanze’s gang carted away a Toyota Highlander SUV and received a mouth-watering N10m ramson that was paid by his family. This prompted the IRT to swing into action, as they combed the nooks and crannies of the state in search of the kidnappers. Fortunately, The operatives assigned to investigate the matter were able to track down the leader of the gang known as Jachike and seven others, including Gabriel. They also recovered some of the stolen items from the kidnappers.
One of the apprehended kidnappers, Loveday in an interview with the Police, disclosed he’s married with three kids. He claimed the reason he was dismissed from the army was because he left his duty post without permission. “I was part of the 153 Battalion in Maiduguri and when I finally got a pass for a few days, I overstayed. I deliberately refused to go back because I was not ready to be killed by those terrorists. Back home, I needed to survive, so when Jachike learnt that I was a soldier, he convinced me to join his gang since I already knew how to handle guns. I also helped him to train the others. I was out of cash and this was easy money for me. To make us happy, he was the one that allowed us to sleep with the women, especially if you were the one guarding them for the night,” he alleged.
In the same line, the leader of the gang, Jachike Ahamefuna stated that the hardship of life forced him into kidnapping. “I am 31 and married with two kids. I dropped out of secondary school and hanged around home till I became a man. My mother encouraged me to go and learn a handiwork and I chose to become a welder. You meet all kinds of customers, especially those who steal something and need a welder to break and repair. This was how I met some bad boys and they taught me the act of robbery and kidnapping. Early last year, most of them were arrested while some died in action. I was lucky that no one caught me. So I was able to relocate to our village till I was sure that the police were no longer looking for me. Life in the village is hard so I decided to make use of my past experience. I returned to Aba town. This was how I started calling one or two persons that I knew in the past,” he stated. He also claimed to have lost count of the number of persons that his new gang abducted but could vividly remember seven cases. “We have lost count and because we are many, the highest amount that I got as my share was N600,000. We have only three guns and if the victim will give us so much stress, we will hire an AK47 from those that rent it. Most of our victims were picked around Aba and along Owerri-Port Harcourt Expressway. We sell their vehicles for as low as N250, 000. The last one we sold was a Lexus Jeep and the receiver bought it from us at the price of N200, 000. We sell it for as low as that because they claim that the police might recover the car in future,” he further stated.
There happens to be another member of the gang, Gabriel Ogbonna, who was the brain behind the abduction of his landlord, noted that he acted based on greed. “I am a truck driver and I am only paid N20,000 per trip. The landlord allowed me to rent a room because he felt that I am a hardworking truck driver. The money he collected was too much for the room and he was also living in the compound. I had already started working with the gang because it was very difficult to get a driving job. In the compound, the landlord was always displaying his wealth. So I decided to get close to him immediately. I became his boy in less than a month that I moved into the compound. It was easy to know his movement and arrange with the gang to kidnap him from the compound. I was there with them but was wearing a facemask. I encouraged his family to pay the money and consoled them throughout the period that he was held in our hideout. “When he came back, the man still continued showing off his wealth, so I told the gang to come for him again. It was after the second time that he packed his bag and left the compound with his family,” Gabriel narrated.
Another suspect, Uzochi Onyema claimed that the gang had never killed anyone in his presence.” “I am from Abia State and a primary school dropout. I am a street boy so it was easy for Jachike to convince me to join them. My job was to hold the cutlass and threaten our victim. I was not among those that normally rape those women. The day I did it, he forced me to do it. If I did not do it, he might kill me, so I joined them that day to rape that woman. It was the first and last time such a thing happened,” he said.
Another suspect, Agwamba Chinemelum, having claimed that he owned one of the guns, said he bought it for N25,000 from the market in Aba. “I have worked with the gang for more than two years and since then till date the highest amount I got was N100,000. It was a huge amount for me and still is. I used part of the money that I made from kidnapping to buy my own gun,” he stated.
Still another gang member, Chukwuebuka Ibeabuchi is a cobbler from Imo State. He confessed that in the past one year, he had consistently assisted the gang to identify some of his generous customers so as to be kidnapped. “I am 24 and life is so hard for me. That is why I decided to join them. We took an oath of secrecy not to expose anyone if caught. I was surprised when Jachike brought police operatives to my house and arrested me. I am so sorry and I wish that police would give me a second chance. Because of my size, I was never allowed to touch any woman that they kidnapped. I didn’t care as long as my share of the ransom was given to me. I regret my action.” The criminals confessed.