‘SHE was really nice to me. She did not owe me any salary. She even went to my village one time and gave my father money. I have been driving her for the past five years. She was really a good woman, yet we kidnapped her and she died. And I was given N200, 000 out of the ransom money collected, although N1,000 was missing from one of the bundles.”
This was part of the testimony of 27-year-old Ali Angba, a driver, reeling out his relationship with his deceased boss, Dr. (Mrs.) Edith Chinedu Aliyu, before now the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Grants Micro Finance Bank and Proprietress of Chelson Group of Schools, all in Gwagwalada suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Dr. Aliyu was allegedly kidnapped in her house by the trio of Maxwell Ajukwu, 41, Solomon Amodu, 32, a 400-level Geography undergraduate at the University of Abuja, a Kogi State indigene and one Douglas, simply referred to as Dougy, who is on the run.
They strangled the woman when she recognized one of her assailants as her driver’s friend and buried her in a bush after Yangoji village, along Kwali-Lokoja Expressway, just two hours after kidnapping her. But they came back four days after the murder and collected a ransom of N5 million from the family, supposedly to secure her release.
Parading the suspects Wednesday at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command of the State Security Service (SSS), Assistant Director Operations, Ibrahim Halilu said the victim’s driver, Ali Angba, who confessed to the crimes, connived with the others to kidnap the victim on June 29 at her residence in Gwagwalada.
Halilu explained: “On June 30, the kidnappers contacted her relations and demanded N5 million ransom for her release. On July 6, the sum of N2 million converted to $11, 550 was dropped for the kidnappers around Obajana Road, Lokoja, Kogi State by the relations without informing the security operatives, out of which the trio of Ajukwu, Dougy and the financier, Jacobs received N500, 000 each while Ali the driver was supposed to received N200,000 but like he said “N1,000 was short from the bundle”. Amodu was not given anything yet.”
Ajukwu, a graduate of Economics from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, also said to be a writer, in his confession said they kidnapped the victim from her house in Gwagwalada, a few minutes to midnight and took her to a hideout, but in the course of trying to tie her down, she recognized him, because he had on one occasion come to the victim’s house to see his friend, Ali, the driver.
“She recognized me, she did not know me well. It is only that the driver took me to the house two days before the event. He took me there as a spy to know the environment.”
“We kidnapped her, but we never had the intention of killing her because the driver said we should just kidnap her. She slumped on the way to where we were taking her. The driver said there was no need keeping her. Since she had seen our faces, it was better for her to go, instead of coming back to see him again.”
“Douglas, the person who killed her, is not here. We dug the grave, Solomon and I. Douglas is at large, we are looking for him now,” he said.
Amodu, who drove the kidnapped and murdered victim to their hideout, said: “When we went there and picked up the woman, as we were going on the way around the check-point, we removed our masks. The woman saw Maxwell’s face and said ‘this is the man that Ali brought to my house.’ She called him Isah, because that is the name she used to call him.”
Explaining further, Amodu said: “As she saw this man’s face, she was shocked and slumped. They asked me to negotiate and look for somewhere, off the road and park on an untarred road, off the highway.”
“Maxwell then called Ali to tell him what happened. “The woman has seen my face and she shouted your name, and has even slumped already.” So Ali gave the go-ahead for the woman to be killed. Dougy asked me to tie her hand, then Dougy strangled her, that was how she finally died,” Amodu said non-chalantly.
Though Ali admitted to being the insider man who collaborated closely with the kidnappers, he denied giving the order for life to be snuffed out of his boss.
This entire project was sponsored by 39-year- old Sunday Jacobs, who said he owns a tailoring business in Gwagwalada. He admitted to contacting Maxwel Ajukwu, a teacher in a private school in Gwagwalada, to carry out the job of kidnapping Mrs. Aliyu, after Ali, her driver, told them his madam had money and suggested they could kidnap her to get some of it.
A female relative of the victim, who craved anonymity, told reporters that the relations paid a total of N5 million ransoms in two batches to the kidnappers.
“But the request for more money kept coming from the kidnappers and it was Ali, the driver, that was taking us to the drop points every time and was bringing word from the kidnappers.”
She said they decided to involve security agents when the kidnappers refused the family’s request to hear the victim’s voice over the telephone as proof that she was still alive.
“After collecting the initial money, they kept demanding for more, saying, ‘the N5 million so far given was just beer money,’ so the family was in a dilemma of seeking for more funds. It was then that the security agents moved in and arrested the abductor (Ajukwu) who called out the other people,” she said.