ANAMBRA State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bala Nasarawa must be having a relaxed mind, at least for now, as he has in his cell, the most wanted suspected kidnapping and armed robbery kingpin in Anambra State, 36 year -old Mr. Olisagbo Ifedike. For the few months he had been in charge of the state police command, Nasarawa had had his usual fair share of the proverbial Baptisimal fire from the men of the underworld in the state.
Over the years, the CPs that had been posted to the state had the same kind of Baptism as the hoodlums would create so much tension in the state once the new man takes charge. Such actions went a long way to reminding the new CP of what to encounter in the state.
When the present CP arrived, he saw in the files, pending cases of kidnapped traditional ruler of Adazi Nnukwu, that of the traditional ruler of Ihembosi, the attack on two police stations at Amichi and Ukpor, both in Nnewi South local government area, among others.
But barely after few months of settling down in the state, there was the issue of the kidnapping of the traditional ruler of Ukpo in Dunukofia local government area, Igwe Robbert Eze, the murder of five police policemen at Okija in Ihiala local government area, the killing of three policemen at Ozubulu and other high profile kidnapping incidents in many parts of the state.
At every available opportunity, the CP called on the people to provide his men with the necessary information that could lead to the arrest of the men of the underworld.
The appeal, however, paid off ealy this week when a public spirited individual who was said to be worried about the happenings at Orafitite in Ekwusigo local government area of the state where Olisa Ifedike has been celebrating crime for years. In fact, it was said that almost every crime committed in the state had his signature as members of his gang are scattered all over the state and beyond.
Nasarawa said: “This suspect has been a most wanted armed robbery/kidnapping kingpin responsible for series of high profile kidnappings, armed robberies and murder, including the kidnap of Igwe of Ihembosi in Ekwusigo local government area in 2010 and the recent kidnap of the traditional ruler of Ukpo in Dunukofia local government area, Igwe Robbert Eze. His gang is also responsible for the killing of five policemen at Okija on 22nd June, 2012, as well as murder of three policemen at Ozubulu on 2nd April, 2012 and the violent attack on Amichi and Ukpor police divisions in Nnewi South local government area on 4th April, 2012.”
According to CP Nasarawa, some of the guns and ammunition recovered at Ifedike’s house were those carted away when the gang invaded the police stations at Amichi and Ukpor during which the two stations were razed down by the hoodlums.
Those who know Ifedike say he exhibits stupendous wealth and claims to be doing business in Ghana, but his actual business is kidnapping of people and collecting million of naira as ransom.
At the last count, he was said to have used the money made from kidnapping people to build hotels in Ghana, Rivers, Abia and Anambra and parades fleet of SUV cars. The mansion he built in his village which was demolished on Wednesday, was built within few months. At the time of his arrest, he was said to be comming into his compound with three SUV cars and blaring siren. All that have ended as he is now cooling off in a police cell.
When Governor Peter Obi, who returned to Nigeria barely 24 hours earlier from Haiti where he had gone to present money collected on behalf of victims of earthquake in that country heard of the development at Ifedike’s home at Ifite Oraifite in Ekwusigo local government area, he took off again to Oraifite as he did earlier at Nkpor in Idemili North and Nri in Anaocha local government area where he sealed hotels and buildings suspected to be hide outs for kidnappers. Accompanied by security operatives, he personally supervised the demolition two buildings belonging to Mr. Olisagbo Ifedike.
Recall that Obi had earlier announced that any building used by kidnappers or belonging to a kidnapper would be demolished and the land confiscated by government and since Ifedike’s issue was a proven case, bull dozers were stationed for work before the governor’s arrival. The two properties demolished were a one -storey building with a pent house and a bungalow which he built for his father.
During the raid on the compound, the police discovered sophisticated arms and ammunition in a plastic cover concealed underground behind the bungalow.
In an armoury found in the compound were 27 AK 47 riffles, one K2 riffle, two type-06 riffles, one General Purpose Machine Gun, one Rocket launcher, 17 rockets, six pump action guns, three dane guns, one Barrett pistol and 13 Rocket grenades, as well as 12,800 rounds of AK 47 live ammunition, 530 rounds of LAR ammunition, 95 rounds of GPMG live ammunition, 1000 rounds of K2 live ammunition and 143 magazines.
Apart from an underground structure in the compound suspected to be a place for keeping victims, there was also an extended building with toilet facilities behind the bungalow suspected to be a place he was using as a cell. In a small building attached to the wall near the gate was a shrine allegedly used by the father of the suspect, Mr. Patrick Ifedike, alias Ogbujingidi, who is a native doctor.
Before the demolition of the buildings, it was discovered that people of the community who were not happy with what was happening in the area, had organized a mob action and they torched the buildings, an indication that they were no longer prepared to tolerate Ifedike’s life style in the area. As one community put it, the young man was showing a bad example to other youths.
Governor Obi said the action was in line with the law of the state which provides that any property linked to kidnap and other criminal activities would be confiscated and demolished by the state government, adding that the decision was geared towards eradicating crime and flushing out hoodlums from the state.
He said further that due process of the law had been initiated to prosecute the suspect, while government would go after all his investments in the country, just as he explained that machinery had been set in motion to arrest other people involved in the crime.
According to the governor, other criminals still lurking in any part of the state should know that the game was up as his administration would not relent until the set objective was achieved and reminded traditional rulers and town union executives of their responsibility to ensure that their communities were not used as hiding place for criminals.
The President General of Oraifite Improvement Union, Mr. Raphael Nwike described the decision to demolish Ifedike’s buildings under the supervision of Governor Obi as a divine intervention, lamenting that the area had been held captive for a long time by criminal elements.
He believed that with what happened in his community, youths of the area would realise that all that glitters is not gold and that the best way to living a good life is to engage in genuine business.