A former staff member of a new generation bank and leader of a notorious kidnap gang in Bayelsa State, John Ikechukwu Ewa, has narrated how his gang carried out high profile kidnappings in the state.
Ewa, popularly known as John Lyon, who was among the four suspects paraded by Bayelsa State Command of the Nigeria Police Force on Monday, said after resigning from the bank, he engaged in interior decoration business and afterwards went into kidnapping by gathering information about rich people for his gang.
According to him, in the two operations, where he supplied information, “we realized N80 million and N60 million (N30m cash and dollars worth N30m).”
He said, “I was involved in the kidnapping of Danjuma Omeje, a bank manager. I was not aware of the kidnapping. My gang members told me they had a business together and that I should just tell them where he is staying. Because I was working with him at the bank as a cleaner, I knew where he stays. That was how I led the operation. I left bank work since 2003.
“I was just misled in joining the kidnapping. I was given N1.5 million from the $10,000 and the money was handed to me by a member of the gang called ‘Emmanuel’
“I played the role of showing them Danjuma’s house. I did not play any role in Akin’s kidnap. I only showed them his house because he was my former boss and I didn’t know that they were kindnappers.
Another member of the gang, Emmanuel Charles Angase, a 37-year-old native of Azuzuma community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, said he aJunes acted as driver during operations.
He said, “Sometime last year, we carried out an operation but I was not the head. I was not even the one that brought the job, but I happened to be the driver. Then this year, we did a kidnapping job again. Those were the only two operations I was involved in.”
Parading the suspects, Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Ben Nobolisa Okolo, said the gang was responsible for over 10 high profile kidnappings in the state over a period of seven years.
He said: “On 8th December, 2020 one Akeeb Oladele Olushola ‘m’ 48 years, a
manager at a new generation bank was kidnapped at his residence at Old Commissioners Quarters, Opolo. He was released on the 12th December after paying a ransom of N80m.
“Similarly, Danjuma Omeje 41 years, a manager at a new generation bank in Yenagoa was kidnapped at his residence at Okaka, Yenagoa, on 30th July 2022, he was released on 14th July 2022 after paying a ransom of N60m: N30m cash and US Dollar equivalent of N30m.
“Operatives of Operation Restore Peace through painstaking investigation arrested the following suspects: Emmanuel Charles Angase ‘m’ 37 years, a native of Azuzuama Community, Southern Ijaw LGA, the leader of the kidnap gang. He operates a kidnapping camp at Sunikiri creek near Oluasiri in Nembe Local Government Area with his second-in-command, one Gbalipre Gamage now at large. Police operatives recovered a brand new Toyota Avalon he bought for his wife with the proceed of ransom he collected.
“The gang leader, Emmanuel Charles Angase, has confessed that on 30th June 2022 at about 0600 hours, he, John Ewa and others at large accosted Danjuma Omeje at the entrance of his house at Okaka, kidnap him and fled in a Blue Toyota Corolla Car with REG NO KJA 225 AY. They took the victim to his camp at Sunikiri Oluasiri, and released him on 14th July 2022 after collecting N60m ransom.
“The suspect also confessed to the kidnap of Akeeb Oladele Olusola a banker, and Nancy Keme Dickson, who was kidnapped on 26th December 2015. He also confessed to the kidnap of Chinonso Eze and other Igbo businessmen.
“John Ikechukwu Ewa ‘m’ 30 years aka John Lion, a native of Eruan Community in Boki LGA, Cross River State, known for flamboyant lifestyle on social media, a former cleaner with a new generation bank, confessed to have collected $10,000 from the ransom collected in the kidnap of Danjuma Omeje.
“Police also arrested Innocent Kingsley ‘m’ 31 years, a native of Egbu Community Itche LGA, Rivers State. The owner of a Blue Toyota Corolla Car with REG NO KJA 225 AY and one Timi Werikumo ‘m’ 21 years, a native of Azuzuama Community Southern Ijaw LGA, Bayelsa State.”