Suspected kidnap kingpin, John Ewa, alias ‘John Lion’, was on Monday paraded at the Police Officers’ Mess in Yenagoa by the Bayelsa State Police Command.
The command also paraded no fewer than 10 other suspects, who were arrested for crimes bordering on alleged cultism and murder, armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and pipeline vandalism.
Ewa, 30, was paraded alongside three members of his kidnap gang whom the police identified as Emmanuel Angase, Innocent Kingsley and Timi Werikumo aged 37 and 21 respectively.
The Commissioner of Police, Ben Okolo, said they were nabbed for allegedly kidnapping Akeem Olushola on December 8, 2020, and Danjuma Emeje on June 30, 2022, at their residences in Yenagoa, among other incidents of abduction.
He said that Ewa, Angase, Kingsley and Werikumo were apprehended “through painstaking investigation” while another suspect, Gbalipre Gamage was at large.
Okolo said, “In recent times, the Command was confronted with reported cases of kidnapping, armed robbery, and cultism. I re-jig the security strategy with a special focus on tackling kidnapping and armed robbery. The strategy has paid off with the recent arrest of members of a notorious kidnapping gang by operatives of Operation Restore Peace. This gang has been responsible for over ten (10) high-profile kidnappings in the State over a period of seven (7) years.
“On 8th December 2020 one Akeeb Oladele Olushola ‘m’ 48 years a Manager of a new generation Bank was kidnaped at his residence at Old Commissioners Quarters Opolo, he was released on the 12th December after paying a ransom of Eighty (N80) Million Naira.
“Similarly, Danjuma Omeje 41 years a Manager of a new generation Bank in Yenagoa was kidnaped at his residence at Okaka, Yenagoa, on 30th July 2022, he was released on 14th July 2022 after paying a ransom of 60 million naira. Thirty (N30) Million Naira cash and US Dollar equivalent of Thirty (N30) Million Naira.”
He described Ewa as “known for a flamboyant lifestyle on social media, saying he confessed to the kidnap of Olushola, Nancy Keme Dickson (on December 26, 2015), Chinonso Eze and other Igbo businessmen.
The Police Commissioner said that the suspects would be charged at the conclusion of the investigation, stressing that the command under his leadership had resolved firmly to make Bayelsa uncomfortable for criminals.
In an interview, Ewa said he was involved in the abduction of Akeeb Olushola and Danjuma Omeje but claimed he was not aware his gang members were engaged in the kidnapping.
He, however, said he showed the gang members the Yenagoa homes of the two victims and that he knew Omeje while working in his bank as a cleaner and resigned in 2003.
“We were just driving and I showed them, I said, this is my former boss’ house. That was it.”
The suspect said he received N1.5m and N3.5m as his share from the ransoms paid by Olushola and Omeje.
Also, Angase also confessed to his involvement in the kidnap of Olushola and Omeje.