By Amara Christa
There was jubilation at the Imo State Police Command headquarters in Owerri, on Thursday, as the personnel of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad arrested a suspected runaway kidnapper, Ifeanyi Asiatugbulem, 34, two years after his gang allegedly engaged the police in a gun duel.
Asiatugbulem is said to be a member of the gang of the billionaire kidnap kingpin, Collins Okoronknwo, aka, E-money, an ex-police corporal, who died on January 27, 2018, with two other members of his gang after they engaged the SARS operatives in a gun battle at Atta in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of the state.
Briefing journalists, the command’s Public Relations Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, said Asiatugbulem was arrested in Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday, where he had formed a new gang and continued with kidnapping and armed robbery.
The police spokesperson said the arrest of Asiatugbulem was a major breakthrough for the command in crime-fighting.
Ikeokwu stated, “On March 25, 2020, at Ikot-Akwa in the Nsit-Atai Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, based on credible intelligence and discrete investigation, operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad arrested one Ifeanyi Asiatugbulem, 34, and one Kingsley Johnson, 20, for various kidnapping and armed robbery incidents.
It will be recalled that on January 27, 2018, at Attack in the Ikeduru LGA, Imo State, the billionaire kidnap kingpin, Collins Okoronkwo, aka E-money, an ex-police corporal, was shot dead during a gun battle with the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
“Asiatugbulem escaped and went ahead to form another kidnap and armed robbery gang and had since been terrorising Imo State and other neighbouring states.
“He has, however, confessed to the crime and his role in various operations, especially with regard to Collins Okoronkwo, aka E-money. He will be charged accordingly.”
The suspect told journalists that he was a driver in the gang of the slain billionaire kidnap kingpin.
Asiatugbulem said he met Okoronkwo in Owerri many years ago when he was a commercial motorcyclist.