Police in Akwa Ibom State have arrested three suspected kidnappers as the leader went to pick N3 million ransom from relatives of the victim at Olympus Hotel, along Afaha Uqua Road, Eket Local Government Area.
The suspects, Austin Agba, 35; Friday Sunday Paul, 23, and Christian Ekenu, 27, were paraded by the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Ikot Akpan Abia, Uyo.
In their various statements at the Police station, the three members of the gang denied their involvement in the crime as they point accusing fingers to one another.
Leader of the gang, a Bayelsa State born Austin Agba said: “I am just an Ijaw man and a middleman to the Ijaw fishermen and the pirates. So, there are certain groups of fishermen that normally contribute money to the pirates to make sure they do their businesses smoothly. “When the pirates had a meeting with the fishermen, they said I am the one that would be negotiating the monthly payment.
The fishermen said if they negotiate directly, the pirates will charge them too high, but if I intervene, the pirates will bring down the levy because I am an Ijaw brother. “On that fateful day, I went to collect the money to settle the pirates so that they would allow the fishermen do their business. It was in the process that I was arrested.”
Sunday Paul who hails from Eastern Obolo Local Government Area in the state who is charged with carrying victims on his motorbike said: “I was riding my bike along Afaha Uqua Road junction when three guys stopped me. Two of them climbed the bike and told me to take them somewhere. On getting there, one of them put his hand in my trouser and said I must take them to where they were going to. “They used a gun to threaten me, saying they were going for an operation. I am not one of them.”
Christian Ekenu, who is from Oron Local Government Area in his own statement said: “I came in from Lagos to meet my friend, Tony. I am an artist. When I arrived Oron, he asked me how much I came with and I said I did not come with any money. “He called his friends and said they should take my shoes, watch and phones. When they went outside the room, I escaped through the ceiling and ran to the police station. “Unfortunately for me, along the road, they picked me and took me to the police station, saying I was a kidnapper. It is for that reason that I am here. I do not understand any of these.”
However, Akwa Ibom Police Public Relations Officer, Delia Nwawe, said they were members of the same gang, who were arrested following each suspect’s confessional statement.
He lamented the spate of criminal activities by young men in the state, but assured that the police, was equal to the task of making the state uncomfortable for criminals.