Police and prosecution sources in Enugu, the capital of Enugu State, have told SaharaReporters that they need the help of the public to track down key criminal suspects in the kidnap of Lotachukwu (aka Lota) Ezeudu, a second year accountancy student at the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus. Lota Ezeudu was kidnapped in late September 2009 when he was nineteen years old. Among those being sought as suspects are a divisional police officer, Sam Chukwu, and a sacked police officer named Desmond Ibezimako Chinweuba.
Several key suspects are in custody and are being held at the Enugu Prisons as their trial proceeds. The detained suspects include Uche Moses Amajor, whose father, Charles Amajor, resides in Kaduna but owned Prosper Hotel in the Trans-Ekulu area of Enugu, Ernest Okeke, a former police officer, and Nnaemeka Chukwu, the son of DPO Sam Chukwu. The trial judge has issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Chukwu, but he has been in hiding for more than a year.
A source with the Ministry of Justice in Enugu State told SaharaReporters that prosecutors are worried by the silence of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, on the arrest warrant for Mr. Sam Chukwu. “We believe the police in Enugu and Abuja are capable of finding DPO Sam Chukwu once the IG gives the order to find him,” said a lawyer with the Ministry of Justice. He added that the fugitive officer, who had a reputation in Enugu as a sponsor of crime, has tainted the image of the police by his alleged role as the mastermind of a ring of kidnappers.
“The sooner the IG orders his men to fish [Sam Chukwu] out, the better,” the source stated, adding that he thought the IG’s silence was responsible for the failure to commence a serious search for the DPO.
Another source told SaharaReporters that investigators are seeking the public’s help to find Desmond Chinweuba, one of the prime suspects in Lota Ezeudu’s kidnap. Mr. Chinweuba, whose home town is Oduma in Aninri local government area of Enugu State, is said to be in his mid-30s. He is also described as 5 ft. 4 in. in height.
Both he and Ernest Okeke had been sacked from the police for engaging in armed robbery. They were released on bail and were living with DPO Chukwu and his family whilst undergoing trial when theyallegedly kidnapped Lota Ezeudu.
Desmond Chinweuba is believed to still be hiding in a West African nation. However, investigators have reportedly received tips that he occasionally visits Nigeria.
A police source pleaded that anyone with information on Desmond Chinweuba’s whereabouts should contact the police at 0803.717.1380 or 0803.545.4840. A handsome financial reward will be offered to anybody who offers information that leads to the suspect’s arrest.
The trial of the detained suspects will continue at an Enugu High Court in June.