29 January 2013

Nigeria: Nkiru's Kidnap - SSS Parades Six Suspects, Including Dismissed Police Constable

Alleged kidnappers of Nollywood actress, Nkiru Sylvanus, were paraded by the State Security Service in Abuja. ( Resource: Imo Kidnap: SSS Parades Six Suspects )

The Department of State Services (DSS) on Tuesday paraded six suspects, including a dismissed Police Constable, in connection with the kidnap of Nkiru Sylvanus, the Senior Special Assistant to Imo Gov. Rochas Okorocha.

Marilyn Ogar, the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the service, paraded the suspects at a joint news conference with the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba.

Ogar said that three other suspects in connection with the kidnap had been arrested by the police.

She said that Sylvanus, who was kidnapped by gunmen on Dec. 15, 2012, was released on Dec. 21 after the payment of N8 million.

Ogar named the six suspects as Ndidi Cletus, 30; dismissed Police Constable Stanley Asonna, 27; Aminus Musa, 40; Mohammed Abubbakar, 34; Obinna Okwuolisa, 30; and Samson Onwuka, 24.

She said the suspects kidnapped the governor's aid and kept her in a bush at Avu junction in Owerri, for six days.

Ogar said that all the suspects had made confessions and would be handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution.

She said that Cletus confessed to being the leader of the nine-man gang, who kidnapped Sylvanus, adding that at the time of his arrest, N3.4 million was recovered from him.

Mba confirmed that Cletus, a constable attached to MOPOL 19, Port Harcourt, was dismissed from service on July 19, 2010 after being implicated in the kidnap of three oil workers in Imo.

He said this was contrary to the claim in his confession to the DSS that he was dismissed in 2004 for absenting himself from duty for 21 days without permission, on grounds of ill health.

Mba said that investigation into the kidnap of the oil workers showed that the suspect provided the tactical and operational guidelines to the gang who committed the act.

He said that having established that the dismissed officer was deeply implicated, the police authorities declared him wanted and he remained on the wanted list until he was arrested for taking part in the kidnap of Sylvanus.

Mba described the joint news conference as a "classical example of inter-agency collaboration to deepen intelligence sharing" for national security.

He said that the three suspects, who are in the custody of the police, had been charged to a Magistrate's Court in Owerri, which has also ordered their remand.

Fielding questions from newsmen, Mba urged relations of kidnapped victims not to pay ransom to kidnappers, saying that it was the "sweetest incentive" that motivates kidnapping.

"Unequivocally, our stand is, 'don't pay ransom'; we encourage Nigerians not to pay ransom," he said.

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