A former driver at Zenith Bank, Owes Okpaka, has revealedm how he got ransom in dollars after staging the abduction of his boss and two other managers at the bank.
Okpaka brought the revelation to light during interrogation after he and his colleagues were apprehended by the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector-General of Police.
Those arrested alongside Okpaka were identified as Lawrence Kevwe Egagah, Victor Dominic, Usobotie Sylvester and Alex Okoun.
The gang confessed to receiving the sum of N50 million as ransom in the three abductions, saying they shared the money among the five gang members.
Speaking on how he plotted the abduction, the driver said: “I graduated from Oghara Polytechnic, Delta State. I was working in the Zenith Bank, Ogonu branch as a driver, but I resigned from the job in January 2021. I was arrested because I masterminded the kidnapping of three management staff members of the bank.
“I masterminded the abduction of three staff members of Zenith Bank. The first person kidnapped is Daniel. I was the person who monitored his movements and I gave out his location to my gang members. Daniel is the Zenith Bank branch manager in Warri. We kidnapped him sometime in October 2020.
“He was in our custody for one week. I don’t know who negotiated the ransom. I don’t also know the actual amount paid as ransom but the ransom was paid in dollars and my share was given to me in dollars. When I converted it to naira, it was N2.5 million. The second kidnapping was that of a woman, Mrs Zowa a staff member of Zenith Bank, Ogonu Branch, Warri.
“I was the person who gave out information about the woman to my gang members. I cannot remember the exact month that we kidnapped her, but it was Victor and I that planned the operation. Victor also brought two other boys for the job and we kidnapped the woman along PTI junction, Warri. Victor was also the person who negotiated for the ransom. I got the sum of N2.5 million as my share of the ransom.
“The woman was kept in our custody for one week before her ransom was paid. The third kidnapping that I carried out with my gang members was that of Mrs Isioma, also a manager with Zenith bank, Effurun Branch. I was still the person who monitored her movement. Victor kept Mrs Isioma in his house but I was part of the ransom negotiation. We agreed on N20 million and I got N10 million as my share. I used my Toyota Corolla car to go and pick up the ransom, it was the last kidnapping I did before I was arrested,” Okpaka said.
Also speaking, Victor Dominic said; “I was arrested in my house at Oghara. At first I did not know why I was arrested but when I got to the station that was when I knew why I was arrested. I later discovered that I was arrested because of my involvement in kidnapping.
“We are five in number in our kidnapping gang, we usually use one pump action gun loaded with live cartridges and an AK47 rifle loaded with one magazine containing 10 -15 five ammunition. It is Owes, who is a member of our gang that usually brings these jobs. So far, I have been involved in three different kidnappings. It occurred between October 2020 and February 2021.
“The first operation was in October 2020, we kidnapped a man. It was Owes who gave us information about him. After kidnapping the man on our way back, Kevwe ordered us to come down from the vehicle so he could take the victim to his camp, but it was I and Kewve that negotiated for the ransom. We bought two small phones which we used to contact the victim's family. We used the second phone for negotiations. After much negotiations, the victim’s family paid us the sum of N15 million dollars equivalent. It was Kevwe and I that went to pick up the ransom. I got N1.6 million as my share of the ransom.
“The second kidnapping that Owes brought was a woman we kidnapped but I did not recognise the type of vehicle she was driving after we kidnapped her, I took her to my house at Oghara and called her people for ransom negotiations N 15, 000,000 was agreed as ransom which was to be paid in dollars. After we received the money in dollars, it was discovered that it was N12 million that was paid,” he added.
According to the police, all the five suspects were arrested from different locations in Delta State and that they have confessed to abducting three bank staff members and that in all they got about N 50 million before releasing the victims.