ASABA— The Delta State Police Command has announced the arrest of seven suspected kidnappers, including a self-proclaimed female pastor, in connection with a kidnapping case. The victim had been held captive in the house of the said pastor.
Bright Edafe, the State Police Public Relations Officer, released a statement revealing the details of the arrests. According to the statement, a kidnapping incident was reported on July 19, 2023, at Obiaruku Police Station. The victim’s family reported that masked gunmen had abducted the mother from the entrance of their home in Obinoba, Nkwani LGA, as they were returning from their shop at around 8:30 PM.
Following the report, Commissioner of Police Wale Abass directed the DPO of Obiaruku Police Station to collaborate with the Special Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber-Crime Squad (SAKCCS) to launch an immediate manhunt to rescue the kidnapped victim.
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On July 26, 2023, the kidnappers released the victim after receiving a ransom of N2 million and approximately N3.5 million worth of jewelry. The Delta State Police Command then initiated an intelligence-led investigation that resulted in significant progress. On August 4, 2023, police operatives arrested a suspect named Kabi Kester, 43 years old, who confessed to being a member of the kidnapping gang.
Kester’s confession led to the apprehension of two more suspects, Henry Owojero, 42 years old, and Franca Okuzor, who claimed to be a pastor and is the wife of the gang leader, Celestine Nova (still at large). The victim had been held captive in Nova’s house for six days. All three arrested suspects admitted their roles in the kidnapping and implicated four others – Celestine Nova, Uche (surname unknown), Chinedu Etudo, and Nweke (surname unknown) – as fellow gang members. The police are actively pursuing the remaining gang members.
Furthermore, on August 3, 2023, police operatives from the Dragon Patrol intercepted a commercial Sienna vehicle during a patrol along the Benin/Asaba Expressway at Issele-uku. A search of the passengers and their belongings led to the discovery of 250 rounds of live cartridges hidden in a bag. The bag’s owner, Omoruyi Osemudiamen, aged 46, was arrested and taken into custody pending further investigation.
In a separate incident on the same day, acting on a tip-off, a combined team of the Bufallo and Eagle-Net Special Squad stormed Summit Road in Asaba and apprehended James Moro, 23 years old. A locally fabricated pump-action gun was seized from Moro, who is believed to have been using the weapon for night-time robberies in the area.
The Delta State Police Command assured the public that investigations into these cases are ongoing.