Mr. Pirah Joseph Mamofe

Seven suspected kidnappers of the wife of the Delta State commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr. Joseph Pirah, have been arrested, three months after they collected a ransom of N2.2 million to release her.

Parading the suspects before journalists at the Delta State command of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Asaba on Monday, the State director of DSS, Florence Ikanone, said they had confessed to being behind the kidnapping of Mrs. Pirah in July.

The suspects were identified as Momo Otuedon, Uche Ujugbeli, Amos Ekerikevwe, Kelly Otuedon, Chibuike Nnakwe, Felix Emmanuel Ekere and Friday Jonathan, each of whom got the sum of N360,000 from the ransom collected from their victim.  Ekere and Ujugbeli also allegedly shared her phones.

The leader of the gang, a man identified simply as Morris, who obtained the N400, 000 lion’s share of the money, and also sold her ML 350 SUV car, is still on the loose, the director said.

She recalled that Mrs. Pirah was seized by the gang sometime in July this year around Ango Park in Warri and taken to a forest in Agbarho, and that after a series of negotiations, the kidnappers collected a ransom of N2.2 million to set her free.

Mrs. Ikanone stated that luck ran against the hoodlums when operatives of the DSS rounded them up in separate locations.

“Efforts are on-going to arrest other fleeing members of the gang even as those already in the command’s custody will soon be arraigned in court after the conclusion of investigation,” the director stated.

When SaharaReporters interviewed three of the suspects: Otuedon, Ujugbeli, and Ekerikevwe, they owned up to committing the crime and to collecting a share of the ransom paid by Mrs. Pirah’s relatives.

Expressing regret for the crime, they blamed the devil and unemployment for leading them into it.



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