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Respite for Bayelsa residents as police arrest notorious kidnap kingpin John Lyon

Nemesis has finally caught up with a popular Abuja-based socialite, John Ikechukwu Ewa, after being arrested by the police of being behind high profile kidnappings …

Nemesis has finally caught up with a popular Abuja-based socialite, John Ikechukwu Ewa, after being arrested by the police of being behind high profile kidnappings  in Bayelsa State.  

Ewa was arrested on Saturday after months of investigation by the operatives of the Bayelsa State Police Command.

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Police in on Monday in Yenegoa, paraded Ewa, alongside three other members of the gang including the ringleader, accusing them of multiple kidnappings and receiving ransom worth millions of naira.  

The police also said they were still pursuing other members of the gang who are still on the run.  

Police source in the state told Daily Trust that the notorious gang were tracked down when a member of the gang, Innocent Kingsley, who is the owner of the blue Toyota Corolla car used in most of the kidnappings was arrested.  

Daily Trust reports activities of the gang led by Ewa had in recent months sent jitters to many prominent people especially members of the business community in the state.  

Few months ago, Igbo indigenes living in Bayelsa began relocating their businesses from the state over constant kidnapping targeted at them which was ruining their businesses after paying huge ransoms.  

Among those alleged to have been kidnapped by the gang was the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito and a cousin of  ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.  

Many of them were released after paying huge amount of money as ransom  

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ben Nobolisa Okolo said Ewa, 30, a native of Eruan Community in Boki LGA, Cross River State, was known for flamboyant lifestyle on social media.  

He said he had confessed to have collected  $10, 000 from the ransom collected in the kidnap of  one Danjuma Omeje.  

During the parade, Ewa, a former staff of a new generation bank, narrated how his gang carried out high profile kidnappings in the state.  

Ewa, popularly known as John Lion, said after resigning from the bank work, he engaged in interior decoration business, where his experience in the business and bank work gave him knowledge about rich people in the state and where they reside.  

He said he was only involved in two kidnapping incidents where he supplied information, stating that they realized N80 million, N30 million and a US dollar equivalent of N30 million.  

He said he was the one who provided information that led to the kidnapping of one Danjuma Omeje. The victim who worked as a manager with new generation bank was once his boss.  

He said: “I was involved in the kidnapping of Danjuma Omeje, a bank manager. I was not aware of the kidnapping, I was told they have a business together, I should just tell them where he is staying, and 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 was just misled into joining the kidnappings. 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 kindnap, I only showed them his house because he is my former boss and I didn’t know that they were kidnappers  

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 always acted as driver during operations.  

He said: “I am not the owner of the gang. Sometime last year, we did a kidnapping 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. But that of last year was Akim then Danjuma, those were the only two operations I was involved.   

Parading the suspects, Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Ben Nobolisa Okolo, said the gang has been responsible for more than 10 high profile kidnapings in the state over a period of seven years.  

He said among those allegedly kidnapped by the gang was one Akeeb Oladele Olushola, 48, a manager at a new generation Bank.  

According to Okolo Olushola was kidnapped on  December 8, 2020  at his residence at Old Commissioners Quarters Opolo.  “He was released on December 12 after paying a ransom of  N80 million.  

“Similarly, Danjuma Omeje 41 years, a Manager of a new generation Bank in Yenagoa was kidnapped at his residence at Okaka, Yenagoa, on  July 30, 2022. He was released on July 14, 2022 after paying a ransom of N60 million. Thirty million naira cash and US Dollar equivalent of N30 million.  

“Operatives of Operation Restore Peace through painstaking investigation arrested the following suspects;  

The police boss said the leader of the gang, Emmanuel Charles Angase, 37,  is a native of Azuzuama Community, Southern Ijaw LGA.  

“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.’’  

He said Angase has confessed that on June 30 2022 at about 0600 hours, himself, John Ewa and others at large accosted Danjuma Omeje at the entrance of his house at Okaka, kidnapped 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 release him on 14th July 2022 after collecting N60  million ransom. The suspect also confessed to the kidnap of Akeeb Oladele Olusola a banker and Nancy Keme Dickson, who was kidnap on 26th December 2015. He also confessed to the kidnap of Chinonso Eze and other Igbo business men.  

He said other members of the gang arrested were    

Innocent Kingsley, 31,  a native of Egbu Community Itche LGA, Rivers State and one Timi Werikumo ‘m’ 21 years, a native of Azuzuama Community Southern Ijaw LGA, Bayelsa State.  

Meanwhile residents of Bayelsa State have expressed confidence that the state will be at peace as the gang terrorizing the state with kidnapping has been busted.  

A resident of Onopa community in Yenagoa, who declined to be named, said she knew Ewa, the kidnap kingpin when he started life as a young man in the state, but did not think he could later run a notorious kidnapping gang.  

She said disposition will leave everybody in doubt about his involvement in such crime, as he was claiming to make a living from his interior decoration business.  

She said: “He is not a troublesome person, when he was living here, you see him with guys always discussing about politics and issues in the state, now no could believe he is a criminal.   

“That is why it’s good for people to know how they live and people they associated with, seeing the way the boy behave and bring him closer to your family could pose serious danger, people must be cautious.”  

Another resident of Yenagoa, said apart from knowing him while he was staff of a bank many years ago, he occasionally met him at the clubs in the town, stating that he spent mostly in buying drinks.  

He said: “He claimed to run a private business, that how far I knew where he is getting his money, he left Yenagoa to Abuja and occasionally came visiting.  

“He has spent years in the state, early this year when kidnapping was on the rise, nobody suspected person like him would be involved, because his looks portray that of a gentleman.”