By Ngozi Uwujare
Two suspected kidnappers nabbed by police operatives attached to the Imo State Police Command have been singing like a bird, even as they pleaded for mercy.
They vowed that they would never return to a lifestyle of crime if they ever got a reprieve.
Meanwhile, the command is on the heels of one Emmanuel Anyanwu who it claimed to be a kingpin of kidnappers.
The two suspected kidnappers arrested by the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Imo State Police Command are Jidechi Akakem, 26 and 18-year-old Chibuike Ibeukwu. They claimed they were hired by one Emmanuel Anyanwu, a man described by the police as a notorious kidnapper and suspected killer. The man is also known as ‘Walking Skeleton,’ it was gathered.
The duo claimed that ‘Walking Skeleton’ gave them three locally-made pistols and 14 rounds of live cartridge and promised to give them N100, 000. Their assignment? To kill a businessman and managing director, Octagon Guard Security Outfit, 62-year-old Vitalis Onuwa.
Onuwa is also the Chairman, Village Council of Emekeukwu in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State
The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hussein Rabiu told Saturday Sun that Emmanuel Anyanwu, (Walking Skeleton) was a notorious kidnapper and killer. He said the man was a cultist and member of Viking Confraternity. He described Anyanwu as a wanted killer who has terrorised Ezeogba Emekeukwue Community in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State for years.
Anyanwu, it was gathered, set up an illegal task force at Emekeukwu Village, which prompted Onuwa to sack him. He thereafter, Saturday Sun was told, recruited some youths, gave them illegal arms and ammunition and involved them in kidnapping and killing of innocent souls.
Anyanwu, who is at large, was said to have employed Jidechi Akakem and Chibuike Ibeukwu to kill Chief Vitalis Onuwa in his house on July 6, 2021.
Imo CP said it was intelligence gathering that prompted the Anti-Kidnapping Commander, Supol Oladimeji Oyeyeyiwa and his operatives to swing into action and stormed the notorious gang’s hideout on July 7, 2021.
He said the police operatives arrested Jidechi and Chibuike at the hideout in Emekeukwue, Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State.
He said the two suspects confessed that it was their gang leader, Emmanuel Anyanwu a.k.a ‘Walking Skeleton’ that sent them to kill Sir Vitalis Onuwa.
He further informed that the suspects are in police custody adding that, his men recovered three locally made pistols and 14 rounds of live cartridges from the men.
In an interview, one of the suspects, Jidechi said he is from Umuchoke Orji in Owerri North Local Government, Area of Imo State.
A graduate of law, he also explained why he became a kidnapper after his law studies.
His words: “I attended Royal Nursery and Primary School and proceeded to Royal Primary and Secondary School. I went to Imo State University where I studied Law and Legal Business. I graduated in 2015, but I have not been called to the bar yet. I am on the police wanted list being an IPOB/ESN member and a member of the dreaded terrorist gang of Late Joseph Uba Nnachi a.k.a “King of Dragon.” We were part of those that attacked Orji Police Station. It was Emmanuel Anyanwu who recruited me to be a member of IPOB and a member of Viking Confraternity. I am a bodyguard to Emmanuel Anyanwu, the Walking Skeleton. We have terrorised people in our community. My leader, Emmanuel Anyanwu told me that I should go and kill Chief Vitalis Onuwa and promised to give us N100,000. He gave us N30, 000 and gave us three locally made pistols and 14 rounds of cartridges to go after him. He said he would pay the remaining N70, 000 once the job was accomplished.
“He wanted us to kill Chief Vitalis Onuwa so that he could become the Chairman of the task force in the community. He gave us three days to carry out the execution. We didn’t go, nor did we attack Chief Vitalis Onuwa. I asked him why we should kill an innocent person. I told him I couldn’t do such an evil act. He promised us that if we killed Chief Vitalis Onuwa, he would pay us the remaining balance of N70,000. But suddenly on July 7, 2021, the Anti-kidnapping operatives came and arrested us,” he said.
The other suspect, Chibuike Ibeukwu, 18, also told his story. Hear him: “I hail from Inyishi in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State. I am a student of Government College, at Okigwe Road, Owerri. I am an errand boy to Jidechi Akakem. It is true that our leader, Emmanuel Anyanwu Walking Skeleton wanted us to kill Chief Vitalis Onuwa. He only gave us N30, 000. We didn’t execute the mission. It was on July 6, 2021 when we went to Chief Vitalis Onuwa’s house that someone asked us what we wanted to do. We told him our mission. The person advised us that Chief Onuwa is a nice person. We immediately left his house and later police detectives came and arrested us.”
The 62-year-old Onuwa also spoke with Saturday Sun. He said: “I hail from Emekeukwu in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State. I am presently the chairman of the village council. I brought Emmanuel Anyanwu known as Walking Skeleton to be the chairman of the task force in the village. He went and recruited some youths to be members of a cult group and did an illegal task force. He terrorizes the people in the community. He sent two youths to assassinate me. I was in the house when I received a phone call on July 7, 2021 by the Anti-kidnapping personnel of the Imo State Police command that two suspects were arrested and that they were hired to kill me in my house. I went to the Anti-Kidnapping office and I saw the two suspects and they confessed to me that their gang leader, Emmanuel Anyanwu sent them to kill me.
“Since the arrest of the two suspects, Emmanuel Anyanwu has been at large. He wanted to kill me when I terminated his appointment as the chairman of the task force. During the EndSARS riots, he was arrested by the police in Imo State. The Police Command, through my effort and village elders, rescued him by assisting him so that the police could grant him bail. Yet he didn’t change from his dubious character. I have written a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali and the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Rabiu. I am waiting for the Police to conclude their investigation. Then I will start from there.”
CP Rabiu has urged the public to give information about the fleeing suspect to the police. He said the two suspects arrested would soon be charged to court after investigation is concluded.