A former driver at a Warri branch of a new generation bank in Delta State is in police custody for reportedly orchestrating the kidnapping of three managers of the bank in the state.
The alleged mastermind, Owes Okpaka, was also said to have got N15m shares from a combined sum of N50m ransom paid for the release of the three bank managers identified simply as one Mr Imani, Mrs Isioma and Mrs Zowa.
Four other members of Okpaka’s gang, Lawrence Egagah, Victor Dominic, Usobotie Sylvester and Alex Okon, were also arrested.
Okpaka reportedly provided the gang with information leading to the separate abduction of the managers between October 2020 and February 2021. It was learnt that the ransoms were collected in dollars.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that Imani, the manager of the bank’s branch in Warri Urobo College, was abducted on his way home by members of the gang on October 5, 2020 and a ransom of N15m was paid for his release.
The gang consequently kidnapped Zowa, the manager of the Ogonu Warri branch and Isioma, the manager of the Effurun branch, and reportedly collected N35m ransom.
It was learnt that operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team went after the gang following a petition to the police.
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Investigation into the incidents led to the arrest of Okpaka who led detectives to apprehend four other members.
Okpaka, a native of Ubogo Community in the Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, explained that he got N2.5m each on the first two abductions and raked in N10m in the last operation.
He said, “I was working at the Ogonu branch of the bank as a driver, but I resigned in January 2021. I was arrested because I masterminded the kidnappings of three colleagues. I brought the three kidnapping jobs that involved the bank managers. I monitored their movements and gave out their locations to my gang members.
“The third kidnapping was that of Mrs. Isioma. Victor kept her in his house and I was part of the ransom negotiation. They paid N20m and I got N10m as my share. I used my Toyota Corolla car to pick up the ransom. It was the last kidnapping I did before I was arrested.”