Benin — ON Tuesday, February 5, a 35-year-old physically challenged barber, Obehi Emienor, from a polygamous family in Ekpon community, Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State, kidnapped his mother, Mrs. Kate Emienor, demanding N20 million ransom to release her from his elder brother (not of the same father), who is abroad.
Obehi, based in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, tricked his mother to bring some foodstuff for him from the village and waited for her at Agbor, from where he took her to his rented apartment at Ogbe Isheagu quarters. He held her hostage for 10 days, while meeting with his siblings in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, to discuss her kidnap and freedom.
Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, told Vanguard that the police were not quickly alerted about the kidnap, but when a report was made, "we deployed our men in the field and with technological tools, we were able to track the suspect.
"I do not want to reveal our strategy but we systematically followed the matter and traced the user of the phone to Ogwashi-Uku. The family members were shocked how we got to know that it was a member of their family that kidnapped their mother, but we knew what we were doing, and trailed him to his barber's salon, where we picked him up.
"My worry in the spate of kidnapping at the moment is the inside factor. You can see a case where a physically challenged person in a family is the one kidnapping his mother. The inside factor in cases of kidnapping compounds nipping the crime in the bud."
The physically challenged barber got information 48 hours earlier that the police were on his trail, but he never believed he would be seized in connection with the abduction until he was arrested in his shop.
Vanguard spoke exclusively to Obehi at the Ogwashi-Uku Police Station, Ogwashi-Uku on Monday.
Why, what happened?
"It is because of the condition that I met my mother, so I was not pleased and my elderly ones are not taking care of her. So, I took her to my place to take care of her. So, along the process, I was annoyed and said I should test my brothers and sisters to know how serious they are or how caring they are to my mum.
Again, I also wanted to know if my elder brother is deceiving us, because he has been abroad for years. Since all these years, he has been promising us that he wanted to take us overseas, but he did not."
So, we started negotiating on phone, after negotiation, I discovered that they do not have anything. I came back from Benin City and told my mother that I have confirmed everything that I needed to confirm, so I told her to leave my house.
She now told me that she would leave the next day because she wanted to get home in the afternoon when the villagers would have all left for the farm.
I left her in the shop and went to my shop (barbing salon) in Ogwashi-Uku working when police people came to apprehend me that I kidnapped my mother.
Is it from Benin you took your mother?
No, from village, Ekpon
You took her to where?
To my room in Ogwashi-Uku
You are based in Ogwashi-Uku?
Where do you stay in Ogwashi-Uku?
Did you rent a house there?
Yes, I rented a house.
What did you tell your mother was the reason for taking her away?
I told her to bring food for you and when she came, I started explaining certain things to her. She had earlier told me that she would like to bring Christmas food to me and I told her there was no problem, that she should bring it and that I would come to collect it at Agbor. So, actually, she came, we met at Agbor, so I collected the food from her and told her that I do not like her condition because she always complained to me that she was having high blood pressure and that my elder brother was not caring for her.
Did you call your elder brother abroad to tell him about your mother's condition?
No, my elderly ones in the village know about the condition, they see her
Is it true that you are a member of a cult group here in Ogwashi-Uku?
No, I am not in any cult group
Who are your gang members in Ogwashi-Uku, only you would not have held your mother for 10 days without assistance?
It is only me; I do not have gang members
If you say you are the only member, who was the person calling your brother overseas on phone and demanding for ransom?
I am the one
You, how, does he not know your voice?
No, it is not through call, it is through text messages
How much ransom did you ask for?
For the first time, I asked for N20 million
Why did you bring the money down later?
They said that they do not have N20 million, so I told them that the least I would collect is N10 million. But when we went for a family meeting, my elder brothers were complaining to me that it is only N400,000 that they have. When I got home, I now told my mother that I have drawn my conclusion in my plan, as I have discovered that they (her children) do not have money and that she had to go the following morning.
What are the content of the text messages you sent for ransom?
I have forgotten the content of the text message; it is not everything I can remember now
Nevertheless, you asked for ransom?
One of the persons you sent a text message to is Joy, who is she to you?
She is my sister
Whom again did you send text to demanding for ransom?
Which number did you use?
Glo number but they blocked it later.
You bought the glo number yourself?
No, I saw it on the ground and picked it
Were you the one that told her to go or it was the police that found out you were keeping her, and you asked her to leave before they catch you?
No, a day after, the day that I came back from Benin, I told her to go.
Was it from one of the family meetings to discuss her release that you got to know?
My elder brothers called me from Benin at at time to run away from Ogwashi-Uku, they said police people were threatening and because of that, I went to Benin. So, all that they have been discussing on how to release the woman, they told me. One of my elder brothers was the one that told me they only have N400,000 . So when they told me that they had only N400,000, in my mind, I said no need, let me go and release her so that they will know that I have released her. Therefore, when I got home, I told my mum to go, she said no problem, that she would leave the next day.
Do your brothers know that you were the one that kidnapped your mother while you were holding meeting with them?
No, they did not know
How long did you detain your mother?
Up to nine days