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A self acclaimed female Pastor, Franca Okuzor and three other masked members of her kidnapping syndicate has been unveiled.
The bursting of the gang is coming on the heels of a manhunt of the three masked kidnappers that abducted an elderly woman and took N3.5 million ransom, which was activated by the Delta State Police Command.
This is even as the command’s efforts to rid the state off crime and criminality yielded the harvest of 250 rounds of live cartridges from an illegal arms merchant and recovery of a locally fabricated pump Action gun from a suspected armed robber.
According to the statement signed and dispatched to News Planet International by the Command’s Public Relations Officer DSP Bright Edafe, it reads: “On 19/7/2023, a case of kidnapping was reported at Obiaruku Police station, the distress caller (name withheld) stated that on their way back from their shop at about 2030hours of the same date, three masked men armed with guns accosted them at the entrance of their house located at Obinoba in Nkwani LGA and kidnapped the mother
Sequel to this complaint, the Commissioner of Police CP Wale Abass psc detailed the DPO Obiaruku Police Station to work in synergy with the Special Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber-Crime Squad (SAKCCS) to immediately launch a manhunt for the hoodlums and rescue the kidnapped victim.
“On 26/7/2023, the kidnappers released the victim after collecting a ransom of Two Million Naira (#2,000,000) and other jewelleries worth about Three Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira (#3,500,000).
” Armed with relevant information, the command embarked on an intelligence-led investigation which paid off when on 4/8/2023, the operatives arrested one Kabi Kester ‘m’ aged 43yrs. Suspect when interrogated, confessed to being a member of the gang that kidnapped the woman(name withheld).
“His confession led to the arrest of two other suspects namely Henry Owojero ‘m’ aged 42yrs, and Franca Okuzor ‘f’ a self-acclaimed pastor and wife to the leader of the gang named Celestine Okuzor Nova (at large) in whose house the victim was held captive for six days. They all confessed to their involvement in the kidnapped and named four others Celestine Okuzor Nova, Uche (surname unknown), Chinedu Etudo, and Nweke (surname unknown) as members of the gang. An intensive manhunt for the other gang members is ongoing.
In a related development, “On 3/8/2023 at about 1600hours, Police operatives attached to Dragon Patrol while on visibility and confidence-building patrol along Benin/Asaba Expressway at Issele-uku, intercepted a commercial Sienna vehicle and subjected the passengers and their bags to a search.
” During the search, two hundred and fifty (250) rounds of live cartridges concealed in a bag were recovered. The owner of the bag Identified as Omoruyi Osemudiamen ‘m’ age 46yrs was arrested and taken into custody. Investigation is ongoing.
In another development, acting on a tip-off,” on 3/8/2023, a combined team of Bufallo and Eagle-Net Special Squad of the command stormed summit road in Asaba and arrested one James Moro ‘m’ aged 23yrs, and a locally fabricated pump action gun was recovered from him. Investigation later revealed that the suspect uses the gun to rob innocent persons at night along that axis. Investigation is ongoing.
DSP Edafe, also stated that CP Wale Abass , has enjoined members of the public not to relent when they face any security challenges, urging all to trust and report cases of kidnapping and other related issues to the Command and trust that the culprits will be arrested and prosecuted.