According to a report by The Nation, a 36-year-old mother of three, Chizoba Ogbonna, has been arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), in Abriba-Ohafia, Abia State, for allegedly masterminding her kidnapping.
The suspect, an indigene of Osisioma in Abia State and a graduate of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Imo State, was arrested with two others, Uche Anthony and Joseph Ezema, who allegedly assisted her to mastermind her kidnap, as well as negotiate for a ransom.
Our source disclosed that N500,000 was paid through Ogbonna’s bank account as ransom, before the IRT operatives swooped on them.
The Nation learnt that one of Ogbonna’s relatives alerted the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, to her purported abduction and the subsequent demand for N2million as ransom.
It was gathered that her purported kidnappers had threatened to kill her within hours if their demands were not met and the IGP swiftly deployed a crack team of operatives from the IRT, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, to track and arrest the suspects.
The source said the operatives, who were armed with advanced tracking devices, trailed Ogbonna and her kidnappers to an uncompleted building at Agborji community in Abriba-Ohafia area of the state with the intention of rescuing her and nabbing her kidnappers, but they (operatives) were shocked when they arrived the hideout and discovered that Ogbonna was having an affair with one of her purported kidnappers and her abduction was staged to extort money from her relatives, which she intended using to travel out of the country, with her boyfriend.
Ogbonna, however, denied staging her own kidnapping, claiming that she was hypnotised, whisked away in a vehicle and she later found herself in the home of her boyfriend, Joseph Ezema, who she said contacted her family and demanded the ransom.
She said: “I am a primary school teacher. I was formerly married and had three children for my ex-husband, but I don’t love him. It was as if he charmed me.
I pulled out of the marriage when I realised that I had been hypnotised.
“In 2018, I met Joseph on Facebook and he told me he is a fashion designer. Later I told him that I have some jobs for him and from that point we started a relationship.
At one point in our relationship, we discussed travelling out of the country and he told me that he had once spent about N300,000 for a visa and it didn’t work out for him.
So, on March 13, I was on my way to visit my sister and a vehicle stopped in front of me. I saw six persons in it and a woman inside the vehicle called me and when I responded, she asked me to enter the vehicle. At that point I lost control of myself. She asked me to enter the vehicle and I obeyed her.
“I later found myself in the home of my boyfriend at Agborji. My boyfriend took my phone, called my sister and demanded ransom. When my sister spoke with me, I begged her to pay the ransom my boyfriend was demanding.
“I then sent my account number to my sister and she paid N500,000 into the account. Two days after the money was paid, the police came and arrested me and my boyfriend.”
But her 30-year-old boyfriend, Joseph Ezema, debunked her claim that she was hypnotised and kidnapped.
He narrated how he met her and how she suggested the idea of kidnap so that she could raise the money they would use to travel out of the country.
The fashion designer said: “I have just a secondary school leaving certificate. I’m not married and I don’t have children. I was arrested because I faked the kidnap of my girlfriend. I met her sometime in April 2018, she is one of my friends on Facebook and she was always commenting on my photos. We started chatting, then we started dating.
She told me that she was a divorcee and that her husband used to beat her and he wasn’t allowing her to have friends and there was a day the man came home with another woman and everything became complicated for her. Then she decided to move out of her husband’s home.
“She said she rented an apartment and lived there with one of her children. So, when we started dating, I visited her house with one of my friends, Anthony and I told her that I was planning to travel out of the country. She said she wanted to travel with me, but I told her that I didn’t have such money.
“So, she told me that she would want me to kidnap her and demand ransom from her sister. That we would use the money to travel out of the country. We then travelled to my town, Abriba and she came with a blue phone with two sim cards.
“Two days later, she covered her phone with a cloth and called her sister, pretending to be a kidnapper. She later told her sister that she had been kidnapped and she demanded ransom. Later, she got scared and thought her sister would recognise her voice. Then my friend, Anthony, took over the phone and started negotiating with her sister. After two weeks of negotiation, her family paid N300,000 into her account.
“On the day we were arrested, her family paid an additional N200,000 into her account and they said that was all they could afford. She gave me N100,000 as my share, but the police came and arrested me. I told the police that I am not a kidnapper and that it was my girlfriend who lured me into the act.”