- What monarch, neighbours, others say about Evans
- Even in incarceration, his name evokes fear at Nnewi
- Why I won’t disown him, by father
From TOPE ADEBOBOYE and DAVID ONWUCHEKWA, Nnewi
For years, many cringed at the mere mention of his name. Thoughts of him got instant trepidation sweeping through the minds of the rich and the affluent. Many terrified hearts would begin to palpitate wildly. To many men and women of means and might across the South East and South West, Chukwudumeje Onwuamadike, known to his foot-soldiers as Evans, was terror personified. His very name connoted trouble.
In Lagos, where he built the headquarters of his kidnapping kingdom, Evans was a dreaded name. Many wealthy men and women, it is said, quickly developed immediate high blood pressure as soon as his name was called.
But, an instant relief ran through many minds last weekend when the notorious billionaire kidnapper who had made life hellish for scores of wealthy and not-so-wealthy people, was paraded before the world by police operatives in Lagos. He had been captured a day earlier by a police team led by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), led by Mr. Abba Kyari, in his mansion in Magodo, Lagos State where he lived like a king.
Since then, Evans has been telling the police about his life of crime.
And the sighs of relief aren’t unjustified. In his confessions to the police, Chukwudumeje admitted to having made a great fortune from his ignoble trade. The man known as the king of kidnappers reportedly told his interrogators that his usual ransom from the families of his victims was a princely sum of one million United States dollars. With the money, he bought and cruised about in exotic automobiles, adorned his corpulent frame with expensive jewellery and owned several magnificent mansions within and outside the country.
Once upon a quiet boy
Born in Akamili community in Umudim, Nnewi, Anambra State in 1980, Chukwudumeje Onwuamadike attended Emmanuel Anglican Primary School in the community. Investigations by Saturday Sun in the community revealed that the kidnap kingpin was not a particularly promising pupil, academic-wise, in his elementary school days. An elderly woman living within the community informed the reporters that when he was a kid, the suspect could hardly hurt a fly.
“He was a quiet boy, and he went about his way without troubling anyone. He never looked for trouble. He was an easy-going boy. I know the family well. In fact, the one that was heady among his siblings was Nnaemeka. That’s the younger brother,” the woman informed.
It was gathered that a major cause of Evans’ undesirable venture into the world of crime might have been the crisis between his father, Pa. Stephen Onwuamadike and his mother. Saturday Sun learnt that the marriage of his parents had not been a particularly smooth one. Before the woman suddenly left home many years ago, it was gathered that Pa Onwuamadike had married his second and third wives. It was also learnt that the three wives and their children lived together with their husband in the man’s expansive house at Akamili community in Nnewi.
“His mother is the first wife, and Evans is the first son. I believe there are about three boys and four girls in the family,” the neighbour informed. “But after their parents separated, Evans stopped going to school. By then, he was through with primary school. I believe he stopped after junior secondary school (JSS) Three. He attended one secondary school at Oba. I can tell you authoritatively that he did not continue his education after JSS Three.”
A gradual walk into crime
Chukwudumeje’s journey into crime wasn’t sudden: it was one despicable step at a time. The newspaper gathered that he was never known as a petty thief while living in the area. But neighbours recalled that he would sometimes disappear from the community only to reappear much later. Not too many people knew where he went, neither were they bothered about his disappearing habits.
A middle-aged man who claimed to be close to the family told the reporters that there was a time Evans made a sudden appearance at Akamili weeks after an equally sudden disappearance.
“That was before he relocated finally from Nnewi,” the man informed. “At that time, he suddenly came home, and we discovered that his left arm was almost chopped off. He was treating the injury locally. We did not know how he sustained the injury. Some said it was a bullet wound while some said it was a machete cut. We were also told that he sustained the injury at a community known as Ozubulu where he had gone stealing. We never knew he would survive the incident.
“Although people here will not like to talk about it, the truth is that, many people knew a long time ago that the man is a criminal. Everybody in this area knew that his hands were not clean, so we were not surprised that he was caught. What is surprising is the gravity of the crime he has been committing, a kidnap kingpin who collects his ransom in dollars.
“Before he finally relocated from Nnewi, there were times you would not see him for a long time. Then after a while, he would suddenly resurface. Nobody knew where he was always travelling to at that time, and no one knew what he was doing for a living.
“Then he finally left Nnewi. But anytime he visited home, he would never sleep in the family house at Akamili. He was always sleeping in hotels. And he was always coming in different cars. The car he brought today would be different from the one he would use next time.
“He has not been coming to Nnewi for a long time. I learnt he was in South Africa at a time, but of what he was doing there, I have no idea.
“His father married three wives, although I can’t say if that was responsible for what became of him. His mother was the first wife, but she left his father a long time ago.”
The newspaper also gathered from various sources that Chukwudumeje’s sudden wealth never elicited instant celebration from his kinsmen. In fact, not a few of the people were quite astonished at the inexplicable prosperity of the young man.
Chima, (not real names), another woman who once lived at Akamili, told Saturday Sun: “The villagers were surprised at the way he suddenly became wealthy. Some people were surprised that he might have become rich through some criminal pursuits, but there were some other people that believed he had prospered through some legitimate means. Such people opined that if he was a criminal, the law would have caught up with him. It was not clear to everybody.
“At that time, he used to visit our provision store, and my sister would call his attention to the kind of rumours making the rounds about him, you know, things that people were saying about him that were not complimentary. My sister would even advise that he should be careful, so that people would not have a bad impression about him. But at a point, many people advised my sister to stop giving him such information and to stop advising him. They said he might get uncomfortable with the insinuations from my sister and might decide to harm her. After some time, he left Nnewi and relocated to Lagos.”
No one in the community seems to have much information about Evans’ immediate family. Even as some media platforms have said Evans relocated his wife and her children to Ghana, many people at Nnewi claimed they have no information on where the family lives.
Saturday Sun was also told that Evans had no house at home, in spite of his wealth. But he is said to own landed properties in the area.
A lifestyle of luxury
Speaking to journalists while he was being paraded, Evans said he was into spare parts business. He said the sudden confiscation of his goods worth N20 million by operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service drove him into kidnapping in 2015. He also said he was at a time, dealing in illicit drugs. The police noted, however, that he had been into the kidnapping business for longer than he admitted. He acknowledged, however, that he collected a million dollars each from some of his victims, even as he admitted that he had lost count of the number of people he and his group had kidnapped.
He told the journalists: “I can’t figure out how much I have collected so far or how many people I have kidnapped, but I have kidnapped up to 10 since 2015. I chose to collect ransom in dollars to be different, and the maximum I have collected as ransom so far is one million dollars. I work in two groups. A team moves with me to kidnap the victims while we hand over to the other team that takes the victim to the hideout. Kingsley introduced me to kidnapping, but I usually get my ammunition from one Chinedu and Ehis whom I met at Ago-Iwoye. I also do drug business that enabled me to buy my properties.”
Indeed, with the proceeds of crime, Chukwudumeje said he bought two houses in Magodo, Lagos and one in Ghana. He is a self-confessed collector of luxury and pricey wrist-watches and mobile phones. He reportedly bought one wrist watch for $170, 000 and three phones for $6000 dollars each.
Trajectory of terror
The victims of Nigeria’s richest kidnap kingpin were many. Among them is Mr. Mbarikatta William Uboma, a 35-year-old man. On June 16, 2012, Uboma had just arrived in the country from Hungary and was on his way from the airport. His brother was driving.
At 11am, somewhere close to his house, the car they were riding in was blocked by another car. The gunmen seized Uboma, blindfolded him and took him to an unknown destination. They later demanded N10 million ransom, but N2 million was accepted eventually. The kidnappers also collected personal accessories from the victim before he was dropped off at Okota on the third day.
Another victim was Paul Cole. The 34-year-old man from Ohafia in Abia State was a director with Ocean Glory Commodities, Apapa. He was kidnapped on August 3, 2012, at Festac Town, Lagos together with Jude Ugoje, the company’s general manager, and another staff, Piriye Gogo.
The kidnappers demanded N10 million, but collected N5 million from the victims. They released them somewhere in Mazamaza on August 6. His group also kidnapped 22-year-old Mohammed Jamal, a Lebanese, on August 19, 2012, in Ajah. The kidnappers later collected N7 million and released the victims.
Another victim, Kingsley Nwokenta, 34, who was kidnapped on September 19, 2012 at Mile Two, was released after paying N1.5 million. But his car, a black Toyota Venza, as well as other accessories were taken away by the kidnappers.
Forty-one-year-old Anthony Ozoanidobi was kidnapped by Evans’ men on October 10, 2012, on Marwa Road, Satellite Town, Lagos. He was released at Apple Junction, Amuwo-Odofin a few days after his abductors had collected N1.5 million from his family members.
Mr. Leo Abraham, 58, was another victim. He was kidnapped on August 20, 2012 and had to cough out the ransom of N5 million before he was dropped off along Badagry Road, Lagos.
A businessman and dealer in auto spare parts at Trade Fair, Lagos, Ojukwu Cosmas, 45, was also kidnapped on January 21, 2016, at Festac town.
The gang took one million dollars from the family of James Uduji who they kidnapped at 7th Avenue in Festac Town late last year. The man was held for six weeks.
Chief Raymond Okoye, Odu-Na-Ichida, was kidnapped in 2015. His family paid Evans’ group one million dollars as ransom. The man was with his abductors for two months.
Another kidnapped businessman whose family was forced to cough out one million dollars for Evans and his group was Uche Okoroafor, a trader at Alaba, Lagos. He was kidnapped in 2015 and was with the group for three months. Elias Ukachukwu, who was kidnapped in November 2015, was also released after his family had paid one million dollars.
Another victim, Francis Umeh, was also a spare parts dealer at Aspanda. He was kidnapped in July 2016, at Raji Rasaki Estate in Lagos. He was released after two months in captivity.
Donatus Dunu is the owner of a pharmaceutical company at Ilupeju, Lagos. After he was kidnapped, his abductors demanded an incredibly huge ransom. After negotiations, Dunu’s family members rallied one another together and paid N150 million. It was said that Evans’ boys had insisted on N500 million.
Umudim, Chukwudumeje’s community in Nnewi, is one of the four autonomous quarters that make up the town. The others are Otolo, Uruagu and Nnewichi. Each quarter comprises a number of villages. Akamili is the village that produced Evans.
If Akamili is aware that one of its sons is a billionaire, even if his fortune emanated from an iniquitous enterprise, the roads in the community hardly tell of such knowledge. Akamili Road, the major artery to the community, is in a pathetic condition. The expansive road, if you would categorise it as one, is unpaved and winding. The major road later breaks into a number of narrow roads. Land couldn’t have been a scarce commodity in the community, though. The houses in Akamili are spacious. They are not as congested as those in the centre of town. The community is a bit remote. The houses in the community are a mixed bag of the ancient and the modern. But unlike other parts of Nnewi, motorbikes are not particularly common on the roads of Akamili.
It had been raining when the reporters first visited the community in the evening of last Tuesday, and a flowing, brownish stream had formed on the slippery road. The frontage of Emmanuel Anglican Church, where the primary school that Chukwudumeje attended is located, is under the threat of some imminent erosion.
Even in incarceration, Evans’ name evokes dread among kinsmen
Everyone knows that Chukwudumeje is a native of Nnewi. But within the town, you would hardly suspect that he is a son of the soil.
Contrary to expectations, the story of Evans, his exploits in the kidnapping business and his recent arrest by the police are hardly the major topics of public discourse at Nnewi. In spite of his incarceration, the name of the dreaded king of kidnappers still evokes considerable dread.
To get people to comment on him and his reign of terror is a herculean task. Virtually everyone approached in the town backs off immediately the matter is broached.
When the reporters called at the palace of Obi of Umudim, Chief Bennett Okafor, the traditional ruler warmly welcomed them. But as soon as he was informed that the reporters wanted to clarify a thing or two about Chukwudumeje, the royal father declared that he wouldn’t have anything to say.
“I can’t make any comment on the young man, as I know absolutely nothing about him,” he declared.
“I read about him in the newspapers like everybody else. I have never set my eyes on him and I have never spoken with him. I’m told he’s from Akamili, which is a village in Umudim. But that is all I know about him. You even know about him more than I do.”
As the monarch chatted with the newsmen, the clouds suddenly gathered, and a vigorous downpour emanated forthwith. The monarch then went inside, brought kola nuts and alligator pepper. He offered prayers for his visitors and his kingdom, after which the king and his guests proceeded to consume the offering.
The royal father told the reporters that Umudim quarters in Nnewi had produced a number of eminent and highly successful individuals and as such, could not be judged by whatever evil that Chukwudumeje might have committed.
The obi informed that many eminent and highly successful individuals had come from Umudim, including the very wealthy businessman, Sir Loius Odumegwu Ojukwu, his son, Eze Ndigbo Gburugburu and Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and Sir Innocent Chukwuma, founder of Innoson Group, Nigeria’s first indigenous auto manufacturing firm, among others.
Attempts to meet or even speak with the priest at the Emmanuel Anglican Church in the community were rebuffed. Each time the reporters called, the priest always insisted that he was unavailable. At other times, he was said to be sleeping.
There is a cluster of houses and shops extending from such houses close to the church premises. Every single person, male or female, in those houses swore to the reporters that they were visitors to the area and had never heard anything about Evans or his kidnapping business.
“Although this is my shop, I’m not a native of this town. All I do is sell my bags and clothes and go home. I don’t know anybody and I’ve never heard about any such thing,” a man selling used clothes and bags by the Emmanuel Anglican Church told the reporters.
When reminded that the story had been given a generous coverage in both the print and electronic media, the gentleman said he had not read a single newspaper in the past two weeks. And informed that the news item had been trending on radio and television, he retorted in Pidgin English: “Where una see light watch telly or hear radio?”
A Lagos-based native of Umudim, Nnewi, explained to Saturday Sun that it wasn’t surprising that many people were unwilling to talk about Chukudumeje and his exploits.
“You know, it’s a village setting. Everyone knows the other person. Whatever you say could cause some problem for you among your kinsmen. And who knows if eventually, the suspect might get his freedom? What if he decides to come for revenge, especially since you’re from his hometown and he might know you or your family member? That is why people are not talking about it, especially to strangers,” he noted.
Why I won’t disown him, by father
Chukwudumeje’s father is Pa Stephen Onwuamadike, an elderly man who lives in his country home in Akamili. At the moment, the news of his son’s dreadful deeds seems to be taking a toll on his health. When the reporter visited the expansive compound on Wednesday, he spoke in soft tones, obviously recuperating from an undisclosed ailment. He also walked with a slight but noticeable limp.
Pa Onwuamadike said he had not communicated with Chukwudumeje in many years. But even as many across Nigeria have been castigating the notorious kidnapper, with some recommending that a death sentence be passed on him, Pa Onwuamadike asserted that he would forgive the young man and accept him back as his son if he could repent from his devilish ways.
While affirming that he had not disowned the detained kidnap kingpin, Pa Onwuamadike explained that there was no reason to do that just yet. He said he believed that Chukwudumeje could still turn a new leaf, just like the Biblical prodigal son who returned to his father after realising his mistakes.
“No, I will not disown him,” he explained. “Remember the story of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance on vain things of life? When he realised his mistakes and came crying back to his father, the father forgave him. I will forgive my son and accept him if he renounces evil and turn a new leaf,” he said.
The family compound sits deep inside the community. It is an old storey-building that must have been quite elegant in its days. It would also have eaten deep into the old man’s pocket then.
But right now, the house seems to have seen better days. The walls are cracking, and the entire structure looks dilapidated. An old blue Fiat van with Lagos registration number AY 750 AKD looks abandoned in the compound.
The interior isn’t any better. The furniture in the expansive sitting room looks old and rusty. there is a piggery in the compound.
Pa Onwuamadike said the last time he met his son was in 2012 at a chance encounter in his younger son’s home in Lagos.
“I was asking where he had his office, I wanted to know the type of job he was into, but he wouldn’t say. Since then, he has not visited me or communicated with me. I don’t even have his number,” he said.
He said his son wouldn’t have ended up a kidnapper if his own wife and Evans’ mother, who, he said, abandoned home long ago without a divorce, had not manipulated the young man spiritually.
He explained that when Chukwudumeje said he was no longer interested in continuing with his education, he took his son to a spare parts dealer in Nnewi so that the boy could be given adequate training on the business. He regretted that his first wife, Chukwudumeje’s mum, took the boy from the spare parts dealer and encouraged him to go into crime.
“I don’t even have his phone number. I never knew he was even rich. His mother suddenly moved out of my house. We are not divorced. I never divorced her. I have other wives, but she’s my first wife and I married her legally. But she has been manipulating our son spiritually since he was just about three years old.”
He begged the Nigerian government to have mercy on his son, noting that he might become a better man if pardoned and rehabilitated.
“He is a young man who was misled by a bad mother,” he asserted. “When I was told that he is a rich man now, I find it hard to believe, because I’m even finding it difficult to feed now. I was one of the first millionaires in this community when my business was booming. I was travelling round the world. But since my business suffered a setback many years ago, I have just been surviving by the grace of God. Now, I sell pigs to take care of myself and my family. I hope the government will have mercy on my son. No, I will not disown him. I pray he changes for the better and becomes a better, Godly person.
My story, by Evans
We had no clues of his identity for years – Abba Kyari
By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
Widely celebrated notorious kidnapper, Duneme Onwuamadike, a.k.a Evans, has continued to give insight into some of the atrocities he committed while he ruled in the underworld. He specifically bragged that although people see him as evil, he does not maltreat his victims or kidnap women.
“God forbid, I cannot touch another man’s wife, check my record. They said I am evil, yet I saved Uduji’s life,” he boasted. Recall Evans was responsible for the kidnap of Sir James Uzochukwu Uduji, the Chairman of Comet star Manufacturing Company who spent three months in his custody.
According to him, the day he picked Mr Uduji, there was an accident that almost made the businessman bleed to death. “He refused to join us voluntarily and in the process of dragging him he had a cut on his neck. It was a deep cut that everyone was terrified that he might die. They advised me to drop him off but I knew that I will handle the situation. Most of the boys involved took off for fear that he would die. I was not bothered because my concern was the money I was to collect. I was able to control the bleeding when we arrived at my hideout in Ejigbo. I checked online and discovered that Rocephin injection will be the best treatment. (Rocephin injection is a cephalosporin antibiotic. It works by fighting bacteria and is used to treat many kinds of bacterial infections, including severe or life-threatening forms such as meningitis.} It costs me N4,000 per day to inject and I did that for seven days based on internet prescription. I also added some multivitamins and panadol to the drugs that I gave him. If I was heartless, I would have allowed him to die. When his extended family wasted time in raising the money, his wife who was in Canada that time called me and pleaded that I should let her husband live. She told me that she was in Canada to give birth and that God blessed them with a baby boy after several attempts to have a male child. That touched me. That was why I monitored him and ensured that he recovered. I only told his wife that I will keep her husband safe until she gets my money. After a month, she sent the balance to me and I released her husband,” he said.
On his other exploits in Lagos, Evans wondered why people are accusing him of collecting one million dollars from victims like Elias Unachukwu and Francis Umeh. “I know the people who paid one million dollars and I kept them because I knew that they could afford it. I have the dossier of all my targets. Elias Unachukwu paid N30million and he struggled to raise it. I ordered his release when I discovered that indeed, he was broke. I never supported the kidnap of Captain because I knew that he is a nobody. The boys who picked him used only a gun and he managed to pay N27million. As for Francis Umeh, he is a liar to say that he gave me a million dollars. If you sell everything that he has including the pant that he is wearing it is not up to N35million. I know him very well; he inherited his brother’s business. He only managed to cough out N30million. Donatus paid N150 million before the unfortunate incident that led to his escape,” he alleged.
Once a victim
Although he was dreaded by so many, Evans claims that he was once a victim in the hands of kidnappers in Anambra. In his words: “I had visited home with my G wagon and some criminals started trailing me. They got me and dragged me into their car while they abandoned my car. They assumed that it has a tracking device. I introduced myself to them and they refused to believe that I am the popular Evans. Luckily for me, I knew who their leader was and I demanded to speak with him. As soon as they realised their mistake they allowed me to go.”
Why I ran away from Edo
According to Evans, he ran away from Edo State when police started raiding and killing most of his gang members. “We robbed several bullion vans and made so much money. In all these, there were so many people scrambling for the money and so many betrayals. Edo had the highest number of criminals in the country and all of them were bosses. Most of the operations got the attention of the police and they started catching and killing so many of us. Some of the kidnap cases in Edo that I can remember include Kings Paint who paid N7million, Randeki paid N11million, Dan Odeti paid N50million and Uyi Technical dropped N100million. It was the kidnap of Uyi that led to the several arrests and death of most of us in Edo State.
“I ran to Ghana and rented an apartment in Tema, Ghana and moved my family over there. It was necessary because I knew that once police started looking for me, they will go after my family. If they pick any of my children, I will surely come out of my hiding place. I do not joke with my family. I spent some time with them and monitored what was happening in Nigeria. I learnt that Ehis, a strong gang leader had been arrested and was in prison. With the arrest of Ehis, police felt that they had mopped up all the gang members.
“I came back in the same 2013 and rented a house in Lakeview estate, Amuwo Odofin. It was then that I realised that I was wasting my destiny in armed robbery. I saw how successful most of my Igbo brothers were. They had little or no protection and were always seen at beer palours. I never knew that most of these men at Alaba market and Aspanda market were very rich till I started living among them.
“Luckily, one of our boys who survived the Edo raid called me. His name was Hunchman. He was one of the reasons police came after us. He begged for forgiveness and asked me to team up with him in Lagos. I agreed.”
Some victims and why them
According to the kingpin, some of his victims include Raymond Okoye; a business man. “It was one of my boys Uche that brought the job. To be sure, we monitored his movement and discovered that every other evening he normally goes to a bar to drink and returns home late. Uche made arrangement for the weapons that we used and he was picked on 21 Road Festac. He managed to pay N40million before he was released.
“Because I was not the owner of the job, they did not allow me to know the place where he was kept. But at the end of the deal I was given N3.5million.
“The next person was Ucheson and he was picked at 6th Avenue on his way home. He ended up paying one million dollars after spending close to two months in detention.
“Next was Okija Man, who lives in Ajao estate, he managed to pay N60million. They wanted to detain him further but I told them that the man is worth nothing more than he offered. It was then another person suggested that we should pick up Young Shall Grow chairman. We monitored him and discovered his daily routine especially where he goes to play table tennis. Uche brought the equipment (weapons). I guess the reason I survived was that I was the one driving.
“No one expected that those policemen with him will start shooting. We expected them to stop the car and run away but they started shooting. It was when I discovered that three of us were already dead that I fled the scene. I was with the car that had all our arms. I drove away and hid the guns and took the next available flight to Abuja. I spent some weeks in a hotel and monitored the news till the incident died down. I later relocated to Ghana and stayed with my family. When I got information that the matter had died down, I decided to return and form my own gang. I knew what the mistakes were and decided to get it right. I rented two apartments in Igando and one in Ejigbo.
“All I did was to rent a shop in Aspanda and Alaba markets and started selling motor spare parts. This gave me the opportunity to mix in properly. I also opened a haulage company that carries mostly containers. My customers were the big boys in the market. This business helped me to know when they are doing well judging by the number of containers that they import. I decided that I will not collect anything less than a million dollars, that was why I normally detain my victims for months. Uduji was one of the successful kidnap cases that made me who I am today. It was also one of the most risky cases,” he said.
My wife, my dearest mother
He still insisted that his wife only knew of his activities weeks before he was arrested. “I tried my best to keep her away from the real source of my wealth. I had established several businesses, which she knew about. I am not good with dates so I might not remember the date that I married my wife, all I know is that it was 11 years ago since my first child is 10 years plus. I met her when she was still a teenager and in Senior Secondary school. She was so pretty and innocent so I got attracted. Then I was a trader at Ladipo and was making small money there. I toasted her and succeeded in convincing her after showering her with so many gifts. Along the line, she got pregnant and it’s an abomination so I quickly convinced her family to allow me to marry her. They asked me what I was doing; I told them that I was a spare parts dealer based in Lagos.
“She had no choice but to drop out of school and moved into my village house where she stayed. It was after I relocated my family to Ghana that she learnt how to bake cake and other things.”
On media reports that his mother is responsible for the evil path he chose in life, Evans angrily warned his father not to spoil the name of his mother. “My father drove my mother away from the house for 12 good years and during that time, we were left at the mercy of his mother. It was our grandmother who took care of us while my father was busy womanising and marrying several wives.
“He was a bully to the extent that he beat up his own mother in our presence. He never paid my school fees for once. The little education I had was through my grandmother’s effort and since she had nothing doing we dropped out of school. What my father did was to hand me over to his friend whom I served for 5 years and he left me without a dime.
“I refused to be like my father that is why I am married to only one wife and I am giving my children the best. I have lady friends but I never intended to marry any of them. It was multiple women that destroyed my family.”
We had no clue for years – ACP Abba Kyari
Excited ACP Abba Kyari, officer in charge of the Police Intelligence Response Team(IRT) that busted Evans, told Saturday Sun reporter that his arrest was the most challenging case he had ever cracked in his years in the police. Kyari was the one who ended the reign of Godogodo, the South West notorious armed robber and sent hundreds of hardened criminals out of the streets of Lagos State. He also has to his credit the arrest of Vampire; another notorious armed robber in the eastern part of Nigeria.
According to him, Godogodo and Vampire era could not be compared to Evans as they were regular armed robbers who kidnapped when the opportunity provided itself. “Kidnappers are more careful than robbers and Evans was an intelligent one based on the experience he acquired over the years.
“Evans was so difficult because we had no clue as to who he really was. No one saw his picture till the day he was arrested. Please kindly note that our success in the operation was because the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, ensured that all the logistics needed were provided. He placed a N30million reward on Evans’ head and directed the Interpol to declare him wanted. He mandated us to do anything possible and gave us all the resources needed. He also kept in touch and gave ideas as to how best to get it done.
“It took several weeks of sleepless nights working on over 100 phone numbers. The Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU) operatives were amazing, no matter the time of the night that they were called up. Someone was on standby to provide information that assisted us in tracking down Evans,” he said.
He explained that the name Evans became known to him in 2012 after a kidnap incident in Lagos that was reported to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos command when he was the officer in charge of the department. “It was then that we realised that there is a potent gang in Lagos but was still trying to find out who they were. Another major incident was the failed kidnap attempt of the chairman of Young Shall Grow Motors. Evans lost three of his men during that attack. We managed to arrest the other person who survived and in his confession, he told us about Evans and his atrocities.
“Evans was completely elusive, we devised so many tactics. We followed his communications and eventually in 2014, we discovered that he had kidnapped many people and collected millions of naira without the victims reporting to the police. They paid quietly. He investigated his targets and knew every detail about them up to their villages. He instilled fear in them and they never alerted the police. Had it been they reported to the police, the resources gathered from their statement will be deployed. There was nothing that we didn’t do. All the links that we got took us to his numerous victims. None of the victims reported to us, we found them in attempt to get Evans.
“Despite everything that we did there was no lead. All efforts did not yield any result until one of the victims escaped. The escape of the pharmacist did not give them enough time to clear their hideout properly before escaping. This helped the police because some of the things we recovered were used to generate information that led to their various locations.
“This is how we started tracking them down. We picked some in Anambra, some in Port Harcourt and some in Lagos. Before his arrest, he never knew we picked his boys quietly. He advised them to be careful that police was on their trail. We picked four of his girlfriends and discovered that Amaka is the one he loves so much. He had 11 phones and none of his gang members including his wife knew the numbers.
“Amaka tried her best to lure Evans. We also arrested his pharmacist because we discovered that he had a lot of interaction with the man. He buys sex enhancing drugs from him every week and each tablet costs six thousand naira. We were hoping that he will come and buy more drugs but he also sensed that the pharmacist was in police net.
“We already knew that he resides in Magodo but no one knew his house. His relatives were lodged in the hotel anytime they visit.
Luckily, Amaka knew that the name of his security man is Pius and the picture of his wife was later found. This helped the police to trace the exact house in Magodo. He had already packed his bags and was about to leave the country when detectives on his trail stormed the house.”
On some of the property recovered, Kyari said: “Everyone has seen the two mansions in Magodo. He has three in Ghana with one of the houses bigger than the ones in Nigeria. He has so many lands in Anambra. He refused to develop them because of the law in Anambra that any house suspected to be used by kidnappers will be demolished. We have traced his haulage company where he has several trucks. These were used to convince Nigerians that he is a genuine businessman.”
Even in Accra, Evans’ footsteps are hard to find
By MUSA JIBRIL, who was in Accra, Ghana
The furore generated by the arrest of Nigeria’s alleged most wanted kidnapper, Evans, (real name Chukwudubem George Onwuamadike), has spread beyond the nation’s borders westward where it is gathering considerable interest. Ghana, the neighbouring West AfricaN country, is where Onwuamadike claims he sought refuge.
Efforts by Saturday Sun to trace the alleged kidnap kingpin’s footsteps in Ghana unearthed perspectives that range from shock and anger to incredulity and fascination from Nigerian expatriates and natives alike.
Inside the Nigerian community in Accra, the prevailing sentiment is that of chagrin; the idea that “such a despicable individual lived among us in Ghana” sends chills down the spines of many, a fellow Nigerian who refused to give his name said.
Others are gripped with the fear that the discovery of the alleged sophisticated criminal hiding in the Ghanaian capital may lead to a backlash that will draw unlikely and unwarranted attention to Nigerians making an honest living in the country.
As far as Ghanaians resident in Accra are concerned, the pursuit and capture of Nigeria’s alleged most wanted kidnapper is a fascinating saga, the development of which they follow keenly. In fact, available videos of Evans, the alleged evasive crime boss have gone viral on social media and are among the most downloaded and shared files on smartphones.
Ghanaians are curious: Can kidnapping be a source of livelihood? Can such a crime be that lucrative? Is it true? The story of the alleged smooth criminal who manipulated several gangs to do his bidding and raked in millions of dollars until police snapped him after five years of surveillance is generating so much interest that it made the cover headline of the daily newspaper The Republic on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Presenters of GH One TV also led its newspaper headlines review programme with it.
Despite the huge interest, it is an irony that no one is able to actually provide meaningful, consequential information about the whereabouts, patterns or lifestyle of the much talked-about Chukwudubem George Onwuamadike, also known as Evans. As it turns out, the effort at tracking the evasive crime baron’s footsteps is akin to chasing the will-o’-the-wisp. To put it simply, there is no evidence that the man has existed in Ghana.
A two-day enquiry through the Igbo community yielded no breakthroughs either: Evans is an unknown entity to the teeming-but-close-knit Igbo in Accra. The leadership of the Anambra State Igbo Community for instance declared:
“We don’t know him.” Inquiries in the Enugu State community came up with a similar answer: “He doesn’t belong to our association.”
In places with a concentration of Nigerians, such as up-market East Legon and Spintex Road, and even at low-brow Weija (an enclave for illicit businesses where 29 yahoo boys were recently busted), the sung tune is the same:
“Familiar, but can’t place the face.”
The only ray of light came from a Nigerian who owns a home appliance shop along Spintex Road. “Yes I know him,” the gentleman who preferred to remain anonymous affirmed strongly. “He used to come here to buy units of air-conditioner.”
The appliance store owner described Evans as “a quiet, decent guy.” His Ghanaian office assistant, Maame, took one look at the alleged criminal’s photos and recognised him. “I have seen him twice this year.”
According to the Nigerian, the quantity of appliances Evans purchased would suggest that he was fitting out a few new homes. When the excited shop owner whatsapped the captured alleged kidnapper’s photos to three of his colleagues, he received one positive reply in seconds. His compatriot responded on the social media platform: “Yes, I know him. He is not the party, party type, not the loud type.”
They settled on the opinion that the alleged kidnap kingpin, resides “somewhere in Baatsonaa”, about a four-kilometre radius that stretches anywhere from Paloma Hotel to Sakumono.
Evans had allegedly confessed to the Nigeria Police that “he owns two houses at Basona, Spintex Road.” The only address close to his claim is Baatsonaa (pronounced as Baa.chona) a suburb off Spintex Road. It is a new neighbourhood near Nungua with lots of new construction of elaborate property going on.
Baatsonaa is described as “a nest for the nouveau riche” by journalist Nana S. Achampong. “It is an East Legon-in-the-making where those without names but with money make their home,” he explained.
Unlike nearby Sakumo which is a government estate with uniform single-family unit residential facilities and four-storey apartments, Baatsonaa is a private estate where individuals buy plots of land and build unique and massive houses to reflect individual sensibilities. The laid back and low density area is mapped by a network of unpaved roads, but bordered by two major highways that grant access to the high end façade of the Spintex road populated by shopping malls, banks and restaurants.
Baatsonaa is the perfect place for a face that does not want to be recognised. It is the ideal place where anonymity can be sustained.
A five-hour reconnaissance of every street in the neighborhood from 10 in the morning (with photos obtained exclusively by Saturday Sun from the Police of houses the alleged kidnapper claims he owns in Ghana on smartphones to guide) failed to yield any hits.
At the end of the second day of scouting, three things are clear: one, that ‘Evans’ Chukwudubem George Onwuamadike, the man, police allege, is leader of a kidnapping ring, is someone who covered his tracks well. The general sentiment is that he is “familiar, but not well known.” Two, ‘Evans’ paints a portrait of an individual who is not a social mixer. Three, he is a smooth liar: while the houses whose pictures he gave the police may be his, they are certainly not located in Baatsonaa, Spintex Road, Accra, Ghana.