BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Kidnappers swarm Port Harcourt

…door-to-door gangs break into homes, pack kids away …Police busts one cell, free 15 kids under

Gangs operating as full-time kidnappers may have invaded Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, sweeping the streets and abducting children.

They now seem to have intermediary buyers who offer as little as N50,000 and resell to end-users or value-chain processors. Ritual killings and organ harvesting have been on the increase and residents have been stricken with fear from horrible tales of eye-witnesses and escapees.

Police investigations have also shown that cells have been built in the outskirts to camp abducted children and resell them to buyers.

Another bizarre angle is that some raiders target parents without maids who lock their children in houses and go to work or the market. They break the doors and pack the children and escape only for parents to return to empty homes.

Many of those abducted are children going on errands on the streets such as one Queen Harry who was abducted at Ojukwu Filed in Mile 1. Harry was said to be on an errand with the elder sister at about 7pm, when she was seized.

In another instance, Miracle John Ohiri, a female, was abducted with her mother and two siblings making a total of four victims from the same family. According to police investigations, the incident took place in the Ada-George area on November 19, 2021. Miracle has just been recovered by the Rivers Police but her mother and siblings have not been found.

Prosper Godwin was captured at Ikpazasia Market in Bayelsa State, on October 31, 2020, and was sold in Port Harcourt and later to Ondo and later back to Port Harcourt where he was eventually rescued. His two co-victims were not lucky.

Read also: Kidnappers demand N90m from burial guests abducted in Ondo

The police in Rivers State are not resting on their oars, as they have cracked a particular gang that has a cell in Aluu, near University of Port Harcourt.

Giving details of the latest crime rate and pattern on Tuesday, September 6, the police chief, Friday Eboka, said the relations of five of the rescued victims have been contacted and they have confirmed the incidents and when last they saw their loved ones.

Favour Edeze was captured on the way to a market to buy things for her mother, while Chimele Obinna was abducted on April 24, 2022, at Rumuodara-Culvert in Oroigwe area of Port Harcourt while seated in front of their house with her sister.

The police said they acted on credible information about the hideout of the kidnap cell. On September 3, 2022, their ‘Operation Restore Peace’ stormed the Omuigwe Abuja Phase II area of Aluu, in Ikwerre Local Government Area.

There, they accosted a lady who claimed to be a 44-year-old reverend sister with 15 children she could not account for. Most of the children turned out to be victims of abduction.

According to the police commissioner, the lady confessed to buying the children for between N50,000 and N60,000. The police boss said the case has been transferred to the ‘CP Monitoring Unit’ for what he called a discrete investigation.

The Igbo-Etche area of Port Harcourt is said to brim with cries of families who locked their children inside the house only to return to find the houses broken and the children gone. Those who walk about with theirs say the children have been forcefully taken from them or both mother and children taken.

The police also paraded a hail taxi operator (name withheld) who also robbed his passengers. In one instance, he robbed his passenger of N150,000 at gunpoint. He was arrested on August 10, 2022, by operatives of C4i Intelligence Unit. The police said he robbed one Boma Adulphus at the GRA and has confessed to the crime.

They also paraded a 23-year-old male (named withheld) at Elelenwo in possession of one locally made double barrel pistol with three live cartridges. “After a preliminary investigation, the case was transferred to C4i Intelligent Unit for discrete investigation, which led to the arrest of two others at Yam Zone, in Oyigbo Local Government Area. Both were said to have confessed to the crime of robbing dispatch riders after their services. Others include gun runners and thieves.

The CP showered appreciation on the people of Rivers State for the synergy existing between them and the police:

“All the recorded achievements wouldn’t have been possible without your timely information, most of which is through phone calls,” he said.

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