A suspected serial kidnapper has declared that his gang has a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on its payroll.
Ubaka Lovinus was arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Lagos State Police command following a tip-off. He shocked his interrogators when he explained how he bought his freedom through the services of quality lawyers including a SAN in the past.
Crimewatch gathered that Ubaka and his gang had been in the business of kidnapping for over five years through which they have made fortunes. Three members of the gang were arrested along with Lovinus. The Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, who declared the arrest of the gang as a major breakthrough, said the suspects were arrested at the point of collecting ransom from the family of their last victim. According to him, the police were alerted immediately the family of the victim was contacted.
“Detectives headed by Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), SP Abba Kyari joined the family in negotiating for the release of the victim. Ubaka, is suspected serial kidnapper who had been linked to several top brass abductions in Lagos and for years the police have been on his trail. Sometime in February 2012, he was arrested and charged to court for alleged kidnapping and conspiracy but within two months, he was released,” he said. On how they were arrested, CP Manko said: “The receiver was picked up at Ajah and based on the information he provided, the others were traced to a hotel in Ajao Estate.
It took the gallantry of Corporal Mohammed Abdurrahman to get them arrested. They were engaged in a gun battle as Ubaka who was heavily armed shot sporadically at the police while police detectives gave him a hot chase and finally gunned him down.” In his confession to the police, Ubaka said that he bought the services of top lawyers including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to secure his release.
He told his story to Crimewatch. “Shortly after my graduation from secondary school, my father who was a policeman could not afford to further my education. My father, Livinus Afonne, was dismissed from the police while he was working at Force Headquarters Obalende because of reasons he had refused to tell me. I went to Computer Village and learnt how to repair laptop and computer but the proceeds was not enough to make me the type of man that I want to be.
“Five years ago, my friend, Bassey Williams, came to my office at Elegushi market pleading that I should teach him how to repair computers. After some months, I saw sense in his argument that a man cannot gain respect in the society by repairing computers. As the first son of the family, I decided that it was time to change the fortune of the family. “He suggested we should go into kidnapping. Initially I was scared but he was able to convince me that it was a simple job.
We started gradually by picking up average persons and I was shocked to see how they willingly parted with money to save their loved ones. With returns, we were able to buy guns and I rented a good apartment at Ibeju Lekki. It was also from the proceed that I was able to buy a second hand pathfinder jeep.” Ubaka recalled that the most remarkable job he did was the day his gang kidnapped a foreigner. “I suggested that we should go for the big fish, so that we can leave the country and settle down outside.
It was then that Bassey remembered that he has an Indian friend, Partish whose father is very rich. Partish loved going to night clubs which made our job very easy. On the day he was kidnapped, Bassey convinced Partish to go to club that night with him. We also gained entry into the club and monitored them. “Bassey’s duty was to ensure that he gets drunk and when he was drunk, he was advised to start going home. I was already outside in my car and he was deceived that we were going to drop him off at his house.
This was how we moved him to my apartment blindfolded. After a week, we were able to collect $200,000 from his family before he was released. “After the deal I got, 5.5million naira as my cut that was about $40,000 dollars. In my history of making money that was a major breakthrough, so I quickly bought two plots of land at Ajah for the sum of N1.2million. I travelled to Abuja immediately because the police got a cue that my apartment was used for that crime.
I started processing documents to travel to Portugal but I was duped by the travel agent who failed to secure the visa for me after collecting, N850, 000,” he said. When Nigeria was becoming too hot, Ubaka said he travelled to Ghana where he spent months and kept tab on the police investigation. “I had nothing doing in Ghana so my money started dwindling and I decided to return to Nigeria since the police were already tired of searching for me,” he explained.
On returning to Lagos, Ubaka linked up with his pals and one of them called Emeka decided to accommodate him in his house at Ajao Estate. “Emeka told me that there was kidnapping job, and we contacted Kingsley who was living with his wife. He volunteered his apartment. All we did was to hang around Victoria Island (VI) waiting in ambush for individual who by their cars appear rich. Luckily, at about 11pm, a man came out of Oniru Estate waiting for a cab.
We grabbed him at gunpoint; it was in the process of interrogating him that we discovered that he works for Dangote Group and was on his way to a night club. We contacted the family the next day and demanded for $40,000. It was in the process of collecting the ransom that the police from Special Investigation Bureau (SIB) arrested me while the others escaped,” he confessed. After investigation, Ubaka was charged to court, remanded in prison and was granted bail two months later.
“Luckily for me I was charged to court and remanded in prison. It was at PWD Magistrate Court 17 and my family contacted one of my lawyers. In this job you need renowned criminal lawyer who will always help you to secure bail. I also have a SAN whose chamber attends to any of my cases. I gave my Infinity Jeep to my lawyer as a gift and in the next one week, I was granted bail.
The first time I was arrested, I gave the lawyer who secured my bail my Pathfinder jeep and some cash. Both cases are still pending in court,” he said. Upon regaining freedom, Ubaka decided to return home and stay with his parents at Ajah. “I was so broke and my family can barely feed. I felt that it was time for me to launch back again. I contacted Emeka that I was free from prison and he advised that we should try and pull one more kidnap job. On September 2 this year, I contacted the rest and we gathered and started moving around VI at about 11pm. Luckily, we spotted a man at an ATM point along Polo Club Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.
We picked him up and took him to an already arranged hotel at Ajao Estate. As a regular customer, Emeka had a suite and they never questioned what he did. That was why when we were coming into the hotel the gateman and receptionist did not bother to know where we were taking the blindfolded man to. We demanded for $14,000 dollars and it was in the process of collecting the ransom that we were arrested,” he said.