The capture of kidnap kingpin Chukwuduben George Onwuamadike [aka Evans)] on June 10, 2017 has altered the perception of the Nigeria Police as incapable of matching kidnap gangs with intelligence and force. The Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team [IRT], Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Lagos Police Command and Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU) headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari have helped to beef up the image of the police, especially now that the supposedly invincible Evans is singing confessional songs like a canary.
To show how the Police appreciate the arrest of Evans and his gang, its spokesman Chief Superintendent [CSP] Jimoh Moshood said, “This is a huge success for Nigeria Police. The force would build on this success and continue to prevent kidnap cases and criminality in the country.” Of course, in recent times, the Anti-Kidnapping squad had successfully busted other kidnapping rings across the country, among them those led by undesirable elements like Godogodo, China, Nnamdi, Yemi Boss, Abdullahi, Victor, Vampire etc.
Since the arrest of Evans, the country has been caught in an unprecedented euphoria as news outlets – print, online and social media – are awash with salacious updates on how the criminal gang had wreaked havoc on their victims and the stupendous wealth it made from their unholy activities. The confessional statements being made by Evans are very interesting, but they should be thoroughly investigated to extract enough evidence to support the charges the police would bring on this case before the court of law.
No doubt, many criminal cases including those involving terrorism suspects have been bungled by Police Investigating Officers on account of shoddy jobs that failed to pass the test of critical legal cross-examination. The police must ensure that they carry out painstaking and thorough investigations into the activities of this criminal gang, searching all their networks in Nigeria and outside the country, engaging the Interpol and Ghanaian intelligence community in the process. It would be too simplistic to take all Evans’ confessional statements at face value because criminals have the creative capacity to cook-up near-credible stories in their efforts to be set free.
It is also noteworthy that only the police team led by ACP Abba Kyari has demonstrated the exceptional capacity to capture high profile criminal gangs. We call on the Police to train more personnel on this sophisticated and technology-backed intelligence gathering mechanism in order to deal with the cancerous crime of kidnapping which has ravaged the country from North to South. It is common knowledge that countries that have defeated highly mobile organised crimes like kidnapping and drug syndicates depended on technology and intelligence, not mere brute force. The Inspector General of Police must build a force made up of robust intelligence teams and despatch them to all corners of Nigeria to bring an end to this constant nightmare called kidnapping and armed robbery.
Furthermore, we call on the judiciary to speedily try suspects of high profile crimes to the logical conclusion. It will not be out of place to set up a special court dedicated to the trial of kidnap and related violent crime suspects. In the last few months, over a hundred kidnap suspects have been arrested by the police, but as the months are rolling into year and beyond, Nigerians are yet to see any of them being tried, convicted or discharged. This is not good for the country’s criminal justice. These hardened criminals kept in awaiting trial sections of our prisons infect other prisoners with their poisonous strategies. That is why many ex-prisoners return to the society, not reformed, but inflamed with the passion to commit more criminal acts. While we congratulate the police for the capture this kidnap kingpin and his cohorts, Evans’ stories are a wake-up call for the police to beef up their crime-busting strategies.