Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri

The police in Imo State on Monday paraded 49 suspects, including members of a syndicate that specialised in stealing and selling children.

The state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, said the gang members operated in Imo and Enugu states and had committed many atrocities.

According to him, Obinna Eze, Oluchi Chibuike,Vitalis Lumanze, Nkiru Nwanedu, Chinyere Nwudu and one Jacinta, were rounded up by the police for allegedly kidnapping and selling a five-year-old boy, Francis Nwachukwu; and his two-year-old sibling, Chinaza Nwachukwu, for N1.1m.

The CP said, “On August 29, 2017, Oluchi Chibuike, the cousin of one Abigail Uka, came to Uzoagba, in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, in company with one Obinna Eze, who Oluchi Chibuike said was her intended husband.

“Their mission was to take  Abigail  and her two children – Francis Nwachukwu and Chimazaekpere Nwachukwu –to visit Obinna’s house at Afara, in the Mbaitoli LGA.”

Ezike disclosed that Eze took Uka and her two children on his motorcycle at about 12pm to his residence.

He said unknown to the victim, Eze and Oluchi had concluded plans to attack her and take away her children.

The CP disclosed that in order for the two prime suspects to achieve their plan, they allegedly hired the services of one Vitalis Lumanze and Chinatu, who they paid N160,000 to attack her on their way back to Uzoagba in the Ikeduru LGA .

“At about 7pm of the same day, along Amankuta Mbieri, a lonely bush path, the two hired men attacked the victim and dumped her inside the bush, thinking that she had died.

“Obinna and Oluchi took the two children back to Obinna’s house,” he added.

According to the police boss, in the morning of August 30, 2017, Oluchi and Obinna allegedly took the two children to Enugu State and sold them to one Nkiru Nwanedu for N1.1m.

“Nkiru Nwanedu, 45, resold the children to one Jacinta Amadi of Egede in the Udi LGA of Enugu State,” Ezike added.

Ezike said the only fleeing member of the gang, identified as Chinatu, would soon be arrested.

Obinna told PUNCH Metro that he promised the mother of the children marriage to deceive her.

Ezike equally paraded 44 other suspects, who were accused of  crimes ranging from kidnapping, armed robbery, murder to cultism.

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