- Evans allegedly kidnapped Chief James Iloenyosi on November 25, 2013 on his way from mass
- The chief is the father of Chikelue Iloenyosi, former Super Eagles player
- On the fifth day after the abduction, the kidnapper demanded N15m ransom be paid
- After two months of searching, two members of Evans gang was arrested in Lokoja, Kogi
- The police had to pretend to kill one of the gang members for another to talk
- Thereafter, the kidnapper took the footballer to a forest where his father was buried
The world came crumbling down for the family of Chief James Iloenyosi when he was kidnapped by men three SUVs early in the morning on November 25, 2013 on his way back from mass.
His son, Chikelue Iloenyosi, a former Super Eagles player had played football professionally in France and Turkey and appeared four times for the national team.
He told the Punch that the kidnappers contacted his family after five days to demand N50m via contract through his twin sister.
The children of the late chief gathered and begged for the ransome to be reduced and it was eventually negotiated that N15m will be paid by the family.
Chikelue: “When we paid the N15m, my father was already dead and we did not know.
“What made me upset was that despite how seriously we worked to get him back, my father did not come out of it alive.”
The gang said they would not release their victim until the family brought more money but no contact was ever made again.
The step to finding the body of chief Iloenyosi was a long and hard one that took four months and the breakthrough arrest of a suspect known as Nonso with three other members of his gang.
According to the footballer, Evans was already a popular criminal well known to the State Anti-Robbery Squad of the Anambra State Police Command but he was mostly known for hitting bullion vans.
With the help of a private investigator months after the ransom for the victim had been paid, the kidnappers were caught.
A friend of the former Fenerbache footballer based in Israel helped to track his father’s line and traced it to a young lady, who said Nonso was her boyfriend.
After initially arresting the wrong person in Cotonou with the help of 18 policemen provided by Abba Kyari, a breakthrough was made when Nonso was tracked to Lokoja, Kogi State.
After identifying the hotel the suspect might be hiding in, some members of the SARS team in Kogi State moved in to make the arrest.
Chikelue said he had to stay in Lokoja for two months before Nonso was arrested in the hotel with his girlfriend.
He said: “When we got to the hotel with the police that day, we requested for the list of the people staying at the hotel. The hotel staff mentioned a “small boy” with his girlfriend in one of the rooms.
“We knocked on the door and the girlfriend came out. He said her boyfriend was in the bathroom. But I was hearing a sound inside. He was trying to escape through the window but SARS operatives were already stationed around the hotel.
“He eventually came out and said his name was Emmanuel. But I knew it was him right away because we had been able to obtain his photograph ahead.
“But because I did not want him to panic, I pretended it was not him and told the SARS operatives in his presence that the person we were looking for was an older man.
“He relaxed and was going inside when I called him and said I wanted to ask him something. I dialled his phone number there and then when it rang, we took it and it showed the name ‘Kidnapper football’. The SARS operatives immediately pounced on him and handcuffed him.
“I asked Nonso if he knew me, he said he did not. I told him I was the footballer whose number he saved with that name. He then asked if I was ‘General’ – my alias – and I said yes.”
After the kidnappers arrest, he became willing to co-operate. He provided Evans’ phone line, with which they started tracking him.
The team was unable to track Evans but they did track another suspect named Awolowo who was lured with two others who were arrested also.
They initially refused to talk as they had taken an oath which might kill them.
One day, while Chikelue was at the SARS office, he found a sudden ally in an armed robbery suspect called Onyeso, who was detained there.
The suspect told the footballer to tell the police to take one of the kidnappers to the back of the police station and pretend to kill him. When they did this Nonso confessed.
After the confession, the team “journeyed into the forest for three and half hours before we got to where they buried him. I broke down and my sister who was there at the time fainted.”
Late Pa Iloenyosi was buried around Nneyi village in Umueri community.
According to the kidnappers, "they were on their way to a robbery when they got information about my father and they diverted to Abagana to kidnap him.
"So, I was really particular about the arrest of Evans so that he could tell us who in our community gave them the information.”
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