Police have arrested a 32-year-old man, Ifeanyi Asiegbuelam, alleged to have assisted late billionaire kidnapper, Collins Ezenwa, popularly known as E-money, in kidnapping many rich personalities in the eastern part of the country.
Asiegbuelam, who hails from Atah Town in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, was arrested in Cross River State, and currently in the custody of the Inspector-General of Police, Intelligence Response Team in Lagos.
According to Asiegbuelam, although he worked with E-money for years, kidnapping many, he never knew the kidnap kingpin earned so much as he only benefitted peanuts from the millions paid as ransom, leaving hm poor.
He said he met E-money who was killed alongside two other members of his gang during an exchange of gunfire with some policemen attached to the Imo state police command in January 2018, five years before E-money joined the Nigeria Police Force.
It was gathered that operatives of IRT, had in 2018, few months after E-money and his gang members were gunned down, opened a massive investigation into his criminal enterprise and discovered that, E-money an ex-policeman, who was dismissed at the rank of a corporal, had within the space of two years, acquired properties valued in hundreds of millions of naira.
The deceased had 13 houses in choice areas in Imo, Enugu, Abia, and a hotel valued N220 million, 13 vehicles including trucks and trailers, amongst other.
The sum of N100 million was also found in E-money wife’s FCM Bank account, which was suspected to be proceed of crime and was ordered to be seized and forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, by the Federal High Court Owerri.
The money however disappeared, as the account which had a net balance of N105 million at the time it was confiscated currently has a balance of N6,800 in it.
Giving background information of how he met E-money, Asiegbuelam said they were both motorcycle operators working in Owerri, before E-money opted to join the police.
He said:“ I am a primary school dropout and this was because I lost I my father at a very young age an there was no one to train me in school.
My uncle took me to the north where I lived with him for some time and I returned to Owerri and became an Okada rider, few years into it I met E-money in Owerri and he was also an Okada rider at that time.
E-money and I became very close friends and after riding our bikes we will go to my mother’s shop where she sells fruits to rest and we did the job together for five years, before he joined the police.
He told me that he wanted to join the police and he asked me to join him, but I told him that I have no school certificate to back me as a was a primary school dropout.
He went ahead, joined the police and started driving police vehicles around Owerri.”
Asiegbuelam gives further details of how E-money lured him into the criminal world, saying: “ After a while I stopped seeing E-money doing his police job and in 2017, I heard that E-money had traveled out of the country, but he showed up few weeks later in the same year in my house with a dark colored Toyota Prado SUV, there he invited me to join his kidnapping enterprise. ”
Stating the numbers of people they kidnapped together Asiegbuelam said; “ on the first operation I went him, we went out with his Prado SUV which has a tinted glass and we drove down to Okigwe, where we kidnapped a man in a car.
I don’t know how he got information about the man but I heard him talking to someone who gave him description of the cloth the victim was wearing and the type of car the victim was driving.
When we accosted the vehicle, we doubled crossed it and grabbed out the man in the vehicle and took him into our own vehicle then zoomed off.
He then asked me to blindfold the man and when we got close to my town he asked to come down from his SUV and he gave me the sum of N50,000.
I didn’t question it and he took the man away. I didn’t know where he took the man to, the number of days the man spent with him, nor how much he negotiated and collected as ransom.
“Two weeks later he called me again, asked where I was I told him, he picked me up and we proceeded to Umuhaia Abia State where we kidnapped a man using the same pattern and on our way back to Owerri, he asked me to drop out of the vehicle and gave me N50,000.
This time, he told me that he was heading to Enugu State and he has a hotel there and that is where he will keep that victim. I didn’t question him, I just took the money and left.
Few days later, he called again, picked me up and we went to Orlu, where we kidnapped a man in a Toyota Highlander.
This time he took the man to my house in Ikeduru and kept the man for two days.
He gave me the sum of N50,000 and a pump action gun to look after the man, thereafter he came back and took the man away. I didn’t know how long he kept the man or amount he took as ransom from the man.
I don’t question him and I am also not the only person working with him. He has seven boys including me working for him and he had two Ak 47 rifles and two pump action guns.
He bought the AK-47 rifles from a man in Aba, Abia State, we met the man in the bush took the rifles from him and paid him his money. I didn’t know the name If the man, it was E-money that knew the man.”
Asiegbuelam also explained that E-money boys were split into two gangs, and he belonged to the gang which had De-Don and another know as PA as members.
He identified members of the other group as Chimobi, Chiwendu and Ugo. He added that E-money splitted his rifles among his boys for safe keeping and easy movement during operations.
“I belong to one of the groups which has De-Don and PA as members and we all went for four kidnapping, while Chimobi, Chiwendu and Ugo, were also working for him. They did several jobs without my knowledge.” He stated
On how he escaped during the operation that led to the death of E-money, he said: “ One months after we kidnapped the man in the Toyota Highlander, E-money came to my house in Ikeduru, with PA and De-Don, and he told us that he had an operation. We didn’t know who the
person was, he then started calling one of his boys known as Chinwedu, to bring his Ak-47, unknown to him, Chinwedu had been arrested and was in the custody of operatives of the Imo State Police Command Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), and he revealed a lot about E-money’s activities to the SARS operatives.
While we were calling Chinwedu, the police made him talk to us that he was free. He told us where to meet him to collect the rifle and proceed for the operation.
But when we got there, E- money sensed danger and stopped his SUV and started running, De-Don and Pa joined him that same direction, the police went after them and gunned them down. I was lucky I was not noticed I quietly sneaked into a nearby bush and escaped.
“ I ran to Owerri, where I stayed for two months, I then got a call from Ugo, who was keeping one of E-monye’s rifles and we formed a new gang but on our first operation we had trouble.
We went to kidnap a woman along Onitsha Road. We were four persons that went for that operation.
While we were taking the woman to our camp, some policemen accosted us and a shootout ensued Ugo’s friend, I don’t know his name was killed in process, Ugo escaped, but one Chimobi and I were arrested.
Chimobi sustained a bullet wound in the process and we were kept in an open cell in handcuffs. I don’t know how Chimobi got keys to our handcuffs and we escaped again from police custody. I ran to Rivers State, I don’t know where Chimobi ran to.
“ I stayed in Porharcourt for more than one year then I moved to Calabar, Cross Rivers State, when I felt that the police were closing in on me in Portharcourt.
I lived in Calabar for seven months with a friend who I met in Portharcourt and we were working in a farm.
I didn’t know that the police were still hunting for me, I was arrested in my friends house taken to Owerri before I was brought back to Lagos and handed over to IRT.
It was after my last arrest that i realized E-money made so much money from our business and left me a poor man begging for money. ”