The remains of the notorious armed robberand kidnap kingpin, Mr Obinna Nwankwo (a.k.a Osisikankwu), were displayed at the Government House, Umuahia, Abia State capital yesterday.
Nwankwo, who terrorised the state for a long time, was killed by the Joint Military Task Force (JMTF) on Sunday.
The news of his killing led to wild jubilation among of Aba and Umuahia residents. His death marked another success in the efforts to rid the state of gangs that have made life difficult for the people and marred social and economic activities.
Spokesperson of the Task Force, Sagir Musa, who confirmed Nwankwo’s death, said the suspected kidnapper was shot dead at Obokwe market, in Ukwa West Local Government by police and military patrol team.
Governor Theodore Orji said the late Nwankwo held the state hostage, brought terrorism to the land and raped women. He compared him to the late notorious armed robbery kingpin, Lawrence Anini.
The governor said the late Nwankwo did not only drive the people of Aba away but also extended his terrorism to other adjoining states.
He expressed gratitude to the JMTF for their diligence, commitment and professionalism. He thanked other security agencies for their support in ensuring that the notorious kidnapper was fished out.
Orji said other kidnappers, who would not learn a lesson from Nwankwo’s death, would go like him.
He directed that the body be displayed in Umuahia to bring back the people’s confidence, adding that it would also help to restore the people’s confidence.
JMTF Commander General A.S. Audu said he had been trailing the hoodlum for one week and that he was caught on a kidnapping mission with two other men and his girlfriend.
He urged other kidnappers to surrender their arms or face a battle.
Nwankwo’s killing ended the myth in Aba that he could neither be caught nor killed.
The Abia State Police Command had declared him wanted for kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, murder and mentoring of kidnappers.
He was described as "dangerous, armed and deadly, a male of about 35 years, dark and 5.5 feet high with oblong face".
He reportedly caused the police nightmares. There was hardly a day without the news of a policeman being killed or about the abduction of someone by members of his gang.
His reign of terror climaxed when his gang allegedly abducted 15 pupils of Abayi International School, Osisioma, and took them to a camp in Ugwuati, Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State.
The camp was in his hometown.
The lateNwankwo was said to be a member of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) but was dismissed over alleged criminal activities.
He joined the militants in the Niger Delta, settling in Edda, Ebonyi State, where he built his criminal empire.
When the heat became too much on Ebonyi, following the drafting of soldiers, he reportedly relocated to his hometown, Ugwuati, from where he reportedly took to kidnapping and other violent crimes.
Apart from Nwankwo, who was said to be a hunter and former fighter of the Icelander Confraternity, allegedly founded by an ex-militant leader, other susepected kidnappers in the Southeast are "Mopol", said to be a dismissed policeman; "Stone", "Tallest", "10-10", "IK" and Onyeme, a dismissed soldier; "King Solomon", "Dan Fryo" and "Susu".
On July 11, the Chairman of the Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Mr Wahab Oba, and three other members and their driver were kidnapped on their way from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, after attending the union’s National Executive Council meeting.
Senior officials of the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) were invited by the Federal Government to help track down the kidnappers. The journalists were later released. A ransom of N250 million demanded was not paid.
A few days before the nation’s 50th Independence anniversary, gunmen seized 15 primary school children on their way to school. The abductors contacted the owner of the private school and demanded a N20 million ransom. But the pupils were set free on Independence Day.
The late Nwankwo and his men operated in Umuafuoka junction, near Ukwakiri, in the Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, up to Oyigbo in Rivers State. They had been implicated in kidnapping cases.
At Ntigha Uzo, Ibeme and Abala communities, where Onyeme, "King Solomon" and other kingpins held sway, traditional rulers and politicians allegedly sponsored their activities for fear of being killed or run out of town.
Over 100 kidnap camps reportedly existed in the areas.
Some officers at a police station allegedly abandoned their post when they could no longer handle the superior firepower of the ‘boys’.
Several innocent travellers were said to have been killed and dumped in the bush. Girls were raped and thousands fled their homes and abandoned their communities.
The Nation Newspapers
Thanks for this singular effort. I believe that all the traders, workers and housewives who ran away from Abia State because of Osisikankwu will now have a relief breath and come back to their homes and buz. I am grateful to God and the government.
New York Times
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