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Meet The Disabled Man Who Sells Weapons To Robbers And Kidnappers In Anambra

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He may be physically disabled but in matters of crime and criminality, he’s quite able-bodied, hardly allowing his physical disability to restrain him

His name is Christopher Edet Udoh. Before the operatives of Operation Puff Adder recently arrested him in Calabar, Cross River State, he ran a criminal enterprise, selling arms and ammunition to deadly armed robbers and kidnappers. Firearms such as AK-47 rifles, a pump-action gun, a locally made gun, double revolvers, ten empty shields of cartridges and nine machine guns were recovered from him, according to the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Mr Monday Bala Kuryas.

Most of his clients – armed robbers and kidnappers – came from Anambra State to buy their ammunition from him in Calabar.

For months, it was gathered, some suspected kidnappers had laid siege to communities in Anambra State, unleashing terror on residents. Recently, the Special Anti-Cultism Squad and the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Anambra State Police Command burst the hideout of the suspected armed robbers and kidnappers at Ngor/Obosi, Nnewi, Ogidi and the state capital, Awka. The operatives made a harvest of arrests, it was learnt. Over 20 suspected members of the cult group, Python and Vickings Confraternity that had kidnapped 10 victims and raped several female victims in their hideout were rounded up.

The police team also rescued six victims and recovered four police AK 47 rifles, pump action, 40 cartridges and other ammunition that had been stolen during the #EndSARS protest last year.

Two of the suspects, who sustained gunshot injuries on their legs, were 25-year-old Chiboy Ezike of Abagana in Njikpke Local Government Area of Anambra State and Chiemere Ajuchukwu, 23.

Besides taking ransoms from victims and raping women, the police boss said the suspects also stole money from their victims’ bank accounts using their ATM cards.

Speaking on the activities of the suspected robbers, Mr Kuryas said the gang had, in November/December 2020, kidnapped and robbed victims along the Awka/Enugu Highway and Onitsha/Owerri Highway before fleeing into the forest after sighting police operatives.

He recalled that in January this year, the same gang had stormed the Nnewi and Ogidi axis. There, they reportedly kidnapped two victims and demanded ransoms in millions of naira. But the anti-kidnapping team had spoilt their fun and rescued the victims.

Said the police boss: “On February 21, 2021, some other members of the same gang, one Blessing Uche Ukogu, 25, Debelt Chukwu Mbanugo, also 25, were arrested in their residential apartments at Oghalubu Okija where police operatives recovered police ammunition, two pump action, and 15 cartridges which were stolen from 3-3 Police Station during the #EndSARS protest.

“The following day, a member of the same gang, Ebuka Obaze, 22, of Ochuche, Umuodo in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, was arrested and the police recovered from him, a cut-to-size locally made double-barrel gun.

“Also, on February 24, the Anti-Cultism Squad raided various hideouts at Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State and arrested members of Python Confraternity who had robbed victims of their valuable items and raped female victims during their initiation at the forest in the Ogidi axis.”

He gave the names of the suspects as Duru David, 22; Ugochukwu Meniru, 20; Nwaoba Chukwudi, 20; Kalu Chukwudi, 18; and Nyala Oputa, 18. He said the police recovered a locally made pistol, magazines, charms and victims’ clothes from the suspects.

The police boss said some other members of the gang arrested include Paul Odukwe, 25, and John Obi, 19, from Ebonyi State. He alleged that they robbed female victims of their possession including telephones and raped them before their arrest along the Igbarian axis. The anti-kidnapping operatives, he said, recovered two pump actions, AK-47 rifles and four mobile phones from them.

“Also on March 2, about 9:30am, at Okpunoeze Unuagu Nnewi, one Ikechukwu Odoh, 25, of Ehamifu in  Isuzo Local Government Area of  Enugu State went into a compound to kidnap  Mary Odeh and her four-month-old baby, Success. The victim the raised alarm and started screaming, which attracted the attention of neighbours. The vigilante group assisted the police detectives and arrested the suspect,” the police boss said.

The victim, Mary Odeh, narrated her experience to SATURDAY SUN: “I was in the compound feeding my baby. I thought the kidnapper came to see somebody, but suddenly, he started dragging me with my baby inside the compound and he started calling the other gang members. I started screaming immediately, which prompted the neighbours to come out. He was arrested but his gang members escaped inside the bush.

CP Kuryas explained that most of the suspects procure their illegal weapons from Christopher Udoh Edet, the physically disabled man, in Calabar.

One of the suspects, Chiboy Ezeike told SATURDAY SUN: “We are a gang of 15 armed robbers and kidnappers. We kidnapped victims from Ogidi, Nnewi, and Awka and took them to our hideout. We collected between ransom of N500,000, N700,000 and N1million from the victims. We kidnapped ladies and raped them before their relatives brought the ransom. We also collected their ATM cards and withdrew money from their bank accounts.

“We were going for an operation at Ogidi and Nnewi in late February when we encountered police detectives. Two of us were arrested while the other gang members escaped.

“We were buying our arms and ammunition from Udoh Edet in Calabar. We were buying them for between N30,000 and N50,000. We have been patronising him for about one year. Sometimes, he rents out guns to us and we would return them after our operation.

Udoh Edet, in an interview with the reporter, said he was making arms to fight enemies of his community. His words: “I hail from Ibiono Local Government Area of Cross River State. I have been into manufacturing of firearms since five years ago. I manufacture arms to fight our enemies, especially in my community. I do manufacture the firearms and hand them over to our youths to fight their enemies. I started selling ammunition to criminals at cheap prices before the police raided my workshop and arrested me. They also collected the ammunition, they found in my workshop.”

One of the victims, Mr. Chika Emeka said: “I came to identify the kidnappers who abducted me. I was in their custody for two days. They demanded N2 million ransom. I was kidnapped at Nnewi before the police detectives came and rescued me from the kidnappers’ den. I was able to identify them. I thank the anti-kidnapping personnel for their prompt response. I didn’t pay any money to them. They bound me in my hands and legs and beat me into a state of coma.”

CP Kuryas said the command under his watch would continue to work assiduously until the crime rate in the state is reduced to the barest minimum.

“We need the cooperation of the public who are expected to report suspicious movements. The suspects would soon be charged to court,” the Anambra police boss said.

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