The Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT), revealed how it trailed and recovered 13 Houses, 13 vehicles and N100 million belonging to the leader of a notorious kidnapping and armed robbery gang and a former police corporal terrorizing the southeast and South-south parts of the country, Collins Ezenwa, popularly known as ‘E-money’.
Sources at the IRT, disclosed yesterday that operatives of the IRT, who were on Ezenwa’s trail before he was gunned down by policemen attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS), attached to the Imo State Police Command, in 2018, when they allegedly intercepted him during a robbery operation in Owerri, Imo State. The police arrested some bankers and a real estate agent, who were allegedly working for him.
The source explained that the IRT uncovered during its investigations that Ezenwa, who was a dismissed police corporal working at the Imo State Police Command, also has links to a notorious armed robbery gang who specialized in hijacking oil vessels on the sea and sell off its products to waiting buyers. The source added that Ezenwa who joined the Nigeria Police Force, in the 2009, made billions of naira from his nefarious criminal activities bought several choice properties including hotels and exotic cars within Imo, Abia and Enugu States, within the space of two years.
It was gathered that one of his friends, Onyekere, advised him to quit his police job and travel out of the country as people may start suspecting that he could have made his money through crime.
It was further gathered that Ezenwa left his police job, traveled out of the country for some weeks.
“When he returned, he allegedly bought a hotel in Enugu and he made a deposit of N100million to a fixed deposit account which his wife was also a signatory.
The source said; “We commenced our investigations into the activities of this criminal in October 2017, who was a policeman at that time, after one Emmanuel and David Ofong, were kidnapped along the Nsukka Kogi Road, Enugu, by a gang of kidnappers and a ransom of $2million was demanded and paid for the release of one of the victims, David Ofong, while the kidnappers held on to Emmanuel Ofong and demanded for additional money. We went into the case and through the aid of technology, we were able to establish that Ezenwa was the man behind the kidnapping, but we had difficulty arresting him then because he was always moving in and out of the country and he moves with various vehicle registration numbers.
“We heard, in 2018, that he has been killed alongside two members of his gang. But since Chief Emmanuel Ofong, whom he kidnapped was still missing; we continued our case with the hope of arresting other members of his gang. In the process, we arrested a banker working for him and he informed us that his wife had a fixed deposit account credited with N100million and we also arrested a property agent who assisted him in buying his property. We equally learned that all the vehicles bought by Ezenwa were taken into hiding by relatives and we went after them and succeeded in recovering 13 of them”. The source stated.
Meanwhile relatives of the late kidnapper have accused the police of attempting to confiscate his Houses, vehicles and cash into their personal use. They had written petitions to the National Human Right Commission and the Amnesty International alleging operatives of IRT are showing undue interest in Ezenwa’s property, but a lawyer working for the IRT Nosa Uhumwangho, told newsmen that the police has not violated any law in recovering properties purchased from proceeds of kidnapping and armed robbery from any robbery suspects.
Uhumwangho, said that the IRT got a banker’s order to freeze the account containing the N100million, they also recovered the buildings and vehcles belonging to the late suspected kidnapper before filing a motion for the temporarily forfeiture of funds, buildings and cars belonging to the late suspect, in a suite marked FHC/OW/CS/180/2018, before the Federal High Court Owerri.
Uhumwangho, explained that the all the vehicles recovered are in police custody while the buildings are yet to be sealed, as the police is yet to obtain a court order to that effect. He added that tenants are currently occupying most of the buildings and no one is taking rents from them pending an order from the court.
He also added that a relative to the wife of the late suspected kidnapper had previously filed fundamental human rights suit against the police over recovery of the properties and freezing of the bank accounts and the matter is before High Court of Okigwe on suite number HO/4/2018.