Saturday, 9 December 2017

Herbalist fortified us before we kidnapped Rivers doctor, collected N9.5m ransom –Suspects

For two months, a group of kidnappers planned and plotted how to abduct a consultant ophthalmologist, Dr. Alex Atama-Pepple, who worked for the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Within that time, they visited a herbalist who fortified them with a supposed charm called Ogoni Wonders.

Atama-Pepple was arrested on July 15, 2017, when he went to play golf at the Port Harcourt Golf Club at the Old GRA.

According to details of the investigation obtained by Saturday PUNCH, the gang had an insider, Collins Nkue, who had worked as a caddy at the golf club for six years.

He was said to have monitored the doctor’s movement each time he visited the golf club.

An IRT official involved in the investigation, which was led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, said,
“On July 15, the gang members were on standby when Nkue sent them the doctor’s number plate, vehicle’s colour and even the colour of the cap he was wearing.
“When the doctor left the club, the gang trailed him to a store where he stopped at Ogbunabali area of Port Harcourt. A member of the gang, known as Obufia Isokoariari, aka Joe Boy, who was armed with an AK-47 and wore a mask, was the first person to attack the doctor, but he fell in a gutter.

“Then, J-Boy’s colleague, Alali Godday, aka Pompo, alighted from their vehicle and used the AK-47 he was also holding to shoot in the air in order to scare the man.”

Saturday PUNCH learnt that at this point, the leader of the gang, Igbalatee Lawson, aka Agbami, who was masked as well, came out with his own rifle and grabbed the man.

Atama-Pepple was shoved inside a waiting Toyota Spider saloon car and he was blindfolded.

The IRT said the doctor was taken to Okwele Waterside in Diobu-Mile 1 area of Port Harcourt and put in a boat operated by two suspects – MonimaPrincewill, aka Gboko, and NoboNgia. He was then taken to a creek in Buguma Town, where he was kept for nine days.

Thereafter, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of N50m.

The IRT official said, 
“At about 9 pm on July 20, 2017, Agbami (gagang leader) and three other members of his gang, including one ChibuzorAnudo (aka Dada), went to Emenike Street at Mile 1, Diobu and collected a ransom of N8m, which had been brought in a carton by Atama-Pepple’s younger brother.

“The suspects immediately went to a hotel around the area where they shared the money.”
However, Saturday PUNCH learnt that despite the payment of the initial ransom, the kidnappers refused to release the doctor.

Agbami’s second in command, Godday, allegedly commenced another round of negotiations with the victim’s family after which he collected an additional sum of N1.5m. The doctor was released after this.

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