• Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

GIFT OGBO: Jailed For Murder, Returned A Vicious Kidnapper


May 1, 2024

For residents of Ndele and neighbouring communities in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, the name Gift Ogbo meant terror. Call him an “enfant terrible” and you won’t be far from the truth.

Popularly known as “Akwa Ndele”, the 39-year-old, who spent the last 11 years of his life serving a murder sentence after giving an uncle fatal punches during a land tussle in 2012, did not consider his incarceration period as time for sober reflections and rehabilitation.
His body still bears the marks of a life lived in barbarity. Because of his villainous disposition, he became known as ‘Akwa Ndele’. In one of his violent outbursts in 2012, he attacked one of his uncles with whom he had a disagreement over a parcel of land. He repeatedly hit the uncle with a stick until he collapsed and lost consciousness. As he attempted to run away, onlookers held him and handed him to the police. While at the police station, he received news that his uncle had died from the injuries sustained from the blows he gave him with the stick. Gift landed in prison for murder as a result.

Instead, Ogbo, a hitherto notorious petty thief, who roamed the streets while his siblings and mates went to school and a barbarian whose next best thing was fighting recklessly; decided to upgrade his criminality to kidnapping and armed robbery.

In the 11 years he spent in jail, he connected with other nefarious fellows and built a more extensive criminal profile for himself. Upon his release in December 2023, he returned to Ndele and rallied two old friends, Gift Kpanuku, aka Oyi-Baba and one Sunny, aka Onye-meme. They teamed up with two released members of the gang he had formed in prison (He knew them as Isaac and Ugo) and immediately devised a plan to start a kidnap-for-ransom gang.

They began by stealing from residents of Ndele to raise money for arms. Gift confessed to the Police that they raised N370,000 and used it to purchase two locally made shotguns at Akwa-Ibom from Smart, a gunrunner he met in prison. With their plans in place, they went on their first mission on March 13, 2024, at about 8.45 p.m. They snatched a red Mazda 323 from a local taxi driver and set out. On that same evening, one Tochukwu Egbo and his wife, Udeh Amaka Beatrice, who went to honour a doctor’s appointment, were parked in front of the doctor’s at Nkpolu, making phone calls when they heard a tap on their car window. As they wound down, they were alarmed to see Gift and his gang brandishing guns and shouting at them to get down from the car (a Volkswagen Touareg). The criminals then pushed them into the back seat of their car and drove off with them, abandoning the stolen Mazda. On their way to their designated hideout, they met with traffic, and while they were contemplating an alternative route, Beatrice managed to jump out of the car. This angered the kidnappers, and Gift Ogbo shot Tochukwu in both his thighs, and they sped off. They took him to a compound in Eleme where Ugo had made arrangements with some other bandits to house their victims. They took his gold chain, his gold wristwatch and his and his wife’s phones. They also withdrew, via POS, five hundred and thirty thousand Naira using his ATM card after forcing him to divulge his PIN. At about 11 pm, they noticed that the victim was bleeding out and decided to go and dump him somewhere quiet, but on their way, they ran out of fuel in the car, so they abandoned him in his vehicle and fled. He was rescued by well-meaning citizens and taken to a hospital, where he is responding well to treatment. On March 29, 2024, the gang set out on another mission in a keke-bus (mini-bus). Four embarked on this mission, like the last one. Ugo was the getaway driver, Sunny was the lookout, and Gift and Oyi-Baba were the muscle. They noticed a white Mercedes-Benz ML 350 4matic parked along Nkpolu with two occupants in the driver and passenger seats. They swerved in front of it, Gift and Oyi Baba jumped down from the minibus and moved threateningly towards them. The driver of the Mercedes was made to reverse but hit a wall in the process. Left with little option, he then drove menacingly toward the two muggers and ran over them, injuring them. Gift and Oyi-Baba both suffered broken bones and could not flee the scene. The other gang members took to their heels as bystanders rushed towards the spot. The mob that had formed gave them a lengthy lynching, poured fuel on them, and were about to set them ablaze when the occupants of the Mercedes begged them to hand them over to the Police.

While observing the turn of events in the neighbourhood, some residents made a distress call to the Police control room and Rapid Response Team swiftly responded to avoid jungle justice . The arrested kidnappers were rushed to the hospital, but Oyi-Baba succumbed to his injuries and gave up the ghost while Gift is currently receiving treatment under the watch of the Police as an extensive investigation has been launched.

Reacting to these events, the Rivers State Police Commissioner, CP Olatunji Rilwan Disu, has described the willingness of young people to continue a life of crime as unfortunate. He stated that everyone should strive to obtain the right amount of education and position themselves to contribute meaningfully to their families and society. He further warned Rivers State residents to steer clear of crime as the Rivers State Police Command under him is an unstoppable juggernaut in the fight against crime and criminals.

By admin

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