Stanley, who allegedly led a gang of kidnappers terrorising Isiala-Ngwa and Aba areas of Abia State, was said to have planned and executed the kidnap of the Unit Commander of MOPOL 52 Squadron Command, Aba on January 14.

The commander, whom the police did not name, was allegedly abducted in his Toyota Highlander by Stanley and four other members of his gang in Akalana area of Aba.

Armed with an AK-47 rifle and a locally made gun, the gang allegedly dispossessed the commander of his service pistol before he was abducted.

He was subsequently released after a ransom of N450,000 was paid. The gang also used their captive’s ATM card to withdraw N220,000 from his account. But shortly afterwards, operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team tracked down the gang.

Once taken into custody, Stanley shared the story of how he got into crime.

According to him, in 2006, he was admitted to the Ikeja Police College as a police cadet, but after five months, he was dismissed during training.

He said, “I was caught by some policemen smoking hemp in a bush at the college during parade hours. I was detained and then dismissed.

“When I returned to Aba, I began to drive commercial buses, but in 2014, I was arrested by the police and taken to prison over a kidnap case I knew nothing about.

“The bus I was driving was owned by the leader of a kidnap gang. A member of the gang told the police that I was also part of the kidnap group.

“He told the police that I could help them locate Jude. I told the police then that I was only a commercial driver for Jude but I was charged to court and then remanded in prison custody for one year and three months.”

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After his release from prison, Stanley said that he went back to driving a commercial vehicle, but that in September 2017, he met one Chibuzor, a native of Isiala-Ngwa. He claimed that Chibuzor introduced him to one Valentine, who was planning to set up a kidnap gang.

Stanley explained that Valentine told him he already had an AK-47 rifle and a locally made gun, which he bought for N420,000.

He said, “I accepted his offer to set up the kidnap gang because I needed money to buy my own bus. Our first operation was in November 2017. We sighted a man inside a Toyota Camry car, who looked rich. We attacked and abducted him and then took him to a camp we had set up in a bush in Aba. We abandoned his vehicle on the road.

“The man spent two days with us in the bush before his wife, whom we had contacted, paid N400,000 ransom. We released him and shared the money. I got N120,000 at the end of the day.

“Three weeks later, we went for another operation. This time, it was around World Bank area of Aba. We hired a truck to patrol the area and spotted a man in a Lexus SUV. He was in front of his house. He was on his way to church with his family. We abducted him and left his wife and children behind.”

According to Stanley, the man was taken to a house used as a hideout in Isiala-Ngwa. Contact was established with his wife thereafter and she paid N1m as ransom, it was learnt.

From that operation, Stanley said he got N500,000 and also sold the man’s SUV for N300,000 to one of his contacts.

On January 14, Stanley and his gang allegedly kidnapped another victim. Unknown to them, this time it was the mobile police commander.

He told the police, “On January 14, we came out the same way we had always done with our rifle and locally made pistol.

“We accosted the man in his Highlander SUV around Osisioma area of Aba and attacked him. He struggled with us but one of us, unknown to the rest of us, had taken the man’s gun.

“The way the man fought with us, we suspected that he was either a soldier or a policeman. I asked him who he was and he said he was just a civilian, but that he had many policemen as friends.

“Afterwards, the guy who took his gun alighted from the vehicle and still did not tell me at that time that he had taken the man’s gun.

“The next day, the man opened up to me that he was a serving policeman and that one of us took his service pistol. We took his ATM card and withdrew N220,000 from it, then his family paid a ransom of N450,000 to us before he was released.”

The police said the case was still being investigated and that the suspects would be charged to court soon.

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