A traditional ruler in Awara, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo, was on Monday paraded by the police for alleged involvement in the kidnapping.
The traditional ruler was paraded alongside a pastor of the Winners Chapel in Njaba for alleged defilement of 11-year-old daughter of a fellow pastor.
The command also paraded 31 suspects who allegedly committed various crimes, ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping, and rape, among others.
The Commissioner of Police in Imo, Mr. Isaac Akinmoyede, said a gang had kidnapped one Louis Obodo, at Mgbala Agwa and Insp. Oscar Mbaeri, in Agwa in Oguta Local Government recently.
He further said that the gang kidnapped the trio of Chigozirim Nnaji, Desmond Okonkwo, and Anyanwu Amarachi on July 19 after which the police gave them a hot chase.
Akinmoyede said that the syndicate had abandoned their Lexus 330 Jeep during an exchange of gunfire with operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and Anti-kidnapping units of the command.
In an open confession, the traditional ruler said that the syndicate paid him N3 million to use his Lexus 330 with registration number URM 404 EL during the kidnapping.
“My Nephew took my vehicle to do kidnapping, I am not one of them. Though they have used my vehicle about four times and they gave me money,” he said.
On his part, the head of the syndicate, Caleb Agu, said he provided a spiritual guide for the gang.
The gang had Ikechukwu Njoku as Protocol officer; Ebenezer Obioha, as Operational Commander and executor; Fabian Obioha, the gang armourer while Bernard Uzoma, was the native doctor that provided protection from operational hazards and arrests.
The police boss said that on May 15, 2020, the gang ambushed and attacked a team of NDLEA officers, during which they killed one operative, left two others seriously wounded, and absconded with their rifles.
Akinmoyede stated that the sum of four million and two hundred thousand naira, one Lexus 330 SUV, four AK 47 rifles, one LAR rifle, one SMG rifle, 120 rounds of 7.62MM life ammunition, was recovered from the gang.
The CP said that the suspects would be changed to court after investigation.
On the rape allegation, the pastor denied complicity but admitted that he was tempted to commit the act.
According to him, he had just been transferred to the Njaba chapter of Winners Chapel and was waiting to be assigned his residential apartment, before another Pastor offered to harbour him until he secured his own accommodation.