I paid $2million ransom after I was kidnapped, says victim
The controversy trailing the recovery of properties belonging to notorious kidnapper, Collins Ezenwa, AKA ‘E-money’, by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), took a twist yesterday, as one of his victims, Tochukwu Okeke, an Enugu based politician, narrated how he was kidnapped by the late suspect and his gang and the sum of $2million extorted from him as ransom before he was released.
Okeke told newsmen that, Ezenwa and members of his gang accosted him in Nnsuka area of Enugu State, on his way back from Abuja, blindfolded and took him into a deep forest where he was kept for six days before the ransom of $2million, which has a naira value of N700million was paid for his freedom. He told newsmen that he instructed his lawyers, while in captivity to sell off one of his property located in New-layout, an upscale area in the city of Enugu and he depleted his domiciliary account, which he said had funds he wanted to use in paying his children’s tuition fees in Canada.
Okeke, who thanked God as he escaped being killed during the saga, disclosed that he was beaten Ezenwa and his gang members, who also gave orders that he should be killed on the fifth night he slept in captivity if his relatives fail to pay his ransom money.
“This wasn’t the first time I have been kidnapped, but I can’t explain the level of dexterity Ezenwa showed when he kidnapped me and ended up making me pay the sum of $2million as ransom to him. When I was kidnapped in 2013 in my house the kidnappers took only N6million from me and I was released. Though they demanded N15million and we had an agreement that will pay off the balance after my release. They didn’t torture or maltreat me the way the gang and his boys did, but after I was released, I had meetings with security operatives in Enugu State and I was advised to keep on communicating with kidnappers since they wanted their balance. I followed the advice and at the end of the day all the kidnappers were arrested and their rifles recovered.
“When Ezenwa kidnapped me, I was blindfolded all night and beaten seriously and was crying and begging my family to sell my properties and raise money for his ransom. We were able to raise the $2million after selling my properties and depleting my bank accounts. After I regained freedom, I reached out to the police operatives who arrested Evans in Lagos.
“I was in Lagos and I reported my case to them and they started investigating the case. For six months, they trailed Ezenwa with the phone number, which was used for the negotiation, and I also discovered that I wasn’t the only victim that was hunting for him because he was showing up in various locations at different times. Luckily, news came in from Imo State that he has been killed by the police in that state and I went and identified his body, then I learned he was based in Enugu”. Okeke explained further that he later learned that Ezenwa has several property in Enugu State which he acquired after he was kidnapped.
He said Ezenwa’s wife also took the IRT to court for seizing his properties as well as freezing their bank accounts and tenants living in a four storey building, which he said the suspect bought with the money he took from him were living for free. He said; “since the matter was in court and I have an established case that my money was used by Ezenwa to buy that property, I approached the tenants and I told them that they would have to start paying rent. They did not pay any rent for one year after Ezenwa was killed. They took advantage of the legal battle between the suspect’s family and the police to live in the house for free. I approached them and narrated my story as a victim who wanted his ransom recovered and since the matter was in court, it will be proper for them to pay their rent so that the money could be used to settle Ezenwa’s victims pending when the matter is settled in court.
‘They requested for a lawyer who entered an understanding with them that the money would be kept in an account that would be monitored by the lawyer and after the matter is decided, it would be handed over to the court or the government who would direct how I would be settled. There was no way I will fold my hands and watch people live in a property bought with my sweat for free when the case have not been decided”. He narrated.
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