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Suspects Explain “Why We Kidnapped Our State Lawmaker”

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Usoro told the cops that he was abducted by criminals with AK47s who had mingled with the crowd and fortunately escaped during the gunfight.
Mr. Usoro Samuel Akpanusoh, a member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly representing the Esit Eket/Ibeno district, was one of the special guests at a traditional wedding in his constituency on November 4, 2021. He was greeted by several supporters and members of his neighborhood who were delighted to see him at the occasion.

Unbeknownst to him, among the cheering audience was a five-man gang with a pre-arranged plan to kidnap him. Mr. Usoro escaped unharmed, but two young men thought to have assisted him in his escape were slain in the process.

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He reported the incident to the nearest police station, and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Akali Baba, ordered the Force Intelligence Response Team (FIRT) to investigate and apprehend the fleeing culprits.

Usoro told the cops that he was abducted by criminals with AK47s who had mingled with the crowd and fortunately escaped during the gunfight.

Three suspects, named as Emmanuel Johnny Okon, Okon Effiong, and Kingsley Emannuel, were tracked down and arrested by the FIRT operatives assigned to the case. They claimed that a man named Uyime, who is still on the run, was the one who recruited them to join the gang. They also claimed that the two men’s deaths were not part of the original plan.

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The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, confirmed their arrest and stated that attempts were still being made to apprehend the remaining suspects. Meanwhile, he stated that the three suspects in police custody would be charged in court soon.

For days, I watched him.

Okon told the Saturday Sun that he was assigned to observe Mr. Usoro, which is how he ended himself in police custody. He described himself as an engaged community member who was well-known to the Honourable (Mr Usoro).

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“I am 29 years old and the mother of a son. I am a member of the community’s youth association, and we rely on money from politicians to survive. We are familiar with the Honourable because he has been elected to represent the Esit Eket constituency for several years. Uyime is a notorious kidnapper from our neighborhood. Mr. Usoro is the next person on the list, he said days before the attack.

“I decided to accompany them because the election campaign is about to begin, and he will come with a modest sum of money to persuade us to vote for him.” After the election, he will just have to deal with his family. He has done little to benefit the community, particularly the young people who voted for him. His immediate family members and kinsmen are the only ones who are progressing and gaining jobs.

“Uyime instructed me to keep an eye on his activities and advise them on the optimum time to attack,” I said. I discovered that he will be attending a traditional wedding in our community on November 4, and I informed Uyime. We agreed that I would inform them of the ideal time to attack, which would be right before he left. I joined the gathering of young people who were hailing him, and he handed us some money for beverages, as was customary.

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“When I was sure that he was about to go, I called Uyime and two others who were on standby close to the venue to move closer. They attacked while he was about to enter his car but unfortunately, he was too smart and escaped. In the process, two of our youth members were killed. While Uyime and the three others with AK47 escaped, I followed the rest in pretending I didn’t know what had transpired.

“I’m not sure how the cops found out that I’m one of them.” I have tried my best to help them find Uyime and others but they have disappeared,” he stated.

If the kidnap was successful, Okon said that he was hoping to start a business and leave the village. He said: “Life in the village is very tough, I decided to accept Uyime’s offer because we had hoped that he would pay millions. Mr Usoro is very rich and I was hoping to get at least N5 million as my share. I am so sorry and I swear that I was not the one that shot the youths in our village. It was not part of the plan to kill innocent youths like us. I do not know why Uyime was careless with the gun.”

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On his part, Effiong claimed that his only responsibility was to guarantee easy access for the gang when they were passing through their community check point. “I have known Uyime for years and anytime he has a job in our area, he would contact me because I am one of the members of the youth in Mbong assigned to secure the area. We have a check point that most of the neighbouring communities must pass through to access the town. The vigilante group was formed to checkmate the activities of kidnappers and armed robbers. Initially what Uyime normally does is to seek for clearance to pass with petroleum products from illegal oil theft activities. He will just tip us and we will let him go.

“On November 1, he called me for a meeting and said he will be moving a much more important goods across and if I guarantee him easy access, he would give me N50,000. I am not a kid, so I insisted that he must tell me the details. He later told me the truth and said that he will give me N50,000 so that I can settle my boys till ransom is paid. On the day that the operation took place, I made sure that the boys posted to the check point were those that I can control.

“I was waiting for them to pass through when I saw the convoy of the honourable pass through with so much security around him. It was later that I received a call that the kidnap attempt was not successful,” he narrated.

The third suspect, Emmanuel claimed that he got arrested because of his involvement with Uyime in the past. “I am a bus driver and Uyime has called me several times in the past to carry him for an operation. I only mistakenly joined him once not knowing that he wanted to kidnap someone. Since then, I refused to allow him use my bus. On the day of the incident, I realised that one of the boys that were killed is my blood relative. I went to the police station to identify his body and they referred me to another police station. It was there that one of the suspects that the police arrested pointed at me as a friend of Uyime. I was not in town when they tried to kidnap the Honourable. I know Uyime and I have tried my best to help the police to pick him up, but he is too smart. I swear that I am not a kidnapper and what I did in the past was a mistake,” he pleaded.

 

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