Three men suspected of being involved in the kidnap of Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, the Anglican Arch-Bishop of the Niger Delta Province, and his wife, Beatrice, last year, have been arraigned by the Department of State Security (DSS), before a Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court.
The suspects, Chibueze Nwaogba, Onyedikachi Emmanuel Okoro and Philip Chikaodiri Ogbuewu, on September 6, 2013, allegedly kidnapped Kattey and his wife, at Aleto Bridge, Eleme, in Eleme Local Government Area of the state. The three are also suspected of being behind serial kidnappings in the state.
According to the Director of DSS in the state, Mr. Apok Nyam, the accused persons collected the sum of N10 million as ransom before releasing the Archbishop.
The suspects, who also face a 17-count charge, were said to have abducted one Ukel Jerome Agba, on Febraury 13, 2013, at Pipeline, in Aleto, Eleme, in the same local government area.
The complainant said N5 million was collected by the accused persons before the victim regained freedom.
In the same vein, the three men, on February 15, last year, allegedly kidnapped Mrs. Anna Agba, at Pipeline, in the same area. The three suspects are also accused of collecting a ransom of N3 million the victim was freed.
On February 13, 2013, at Pipeline, in Aleto, Eleme, the three arraigned suspects are also alleged to have abducted one Chidiebere Nwawuba, and later collected N2 million before releasing their victim.
The gang was said to have kidnapped Dr. Lasisi Adebukola, on December 12, 2012, at Ebube, Eleme, in the same local government area. The accused persons received N1 million as ransom before releasing their victim.
On May 2, 2013, the three accused persons and others at large, allegedly abducted Dr. Ezem Fidelis Chidozie, at Sand Field Road, Aleto, Eleme, and N1.3 million was paid for his freedom.
Accused persons were said to have on or about May 17, 2013, abducted Engr. Bernard Azuwuike Ezem, near Eleme forest and received a ransom of N800, 000 for his release.
The complainant also alleged that the accused persons, on August 7, 2013, kidnapped one Fred Mbobo Igwe along East/West road, Elelenwo.
They also allegedly abducted one Iheakanwa Felix Arinze on May 31, last year, at Aleto bridge, by Petrochemical, also at Eleme Local Government Area. The accused persons were paid N1.8 million as ransom for his release.
However, no plea was taken, as the trial Chief Magistrate, I. Agbesor, ordered that they should be remanded in prison custody because the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.
He directed that their case file should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice. The case was adjourned till September 1, 2014.