Following a story we published on Monday, November 6, 2023, about how one Hon Emmanuel Nwangwu, the Special Adviser on Transport to Hon Walter Ozioko, the Nsukka Local Government Chairman, was caught in a leaked video sleeping with a married woman inside an office in the local council secretariat, fresh facts on the antecedents of the man in the video has emerged and shows he is an international kidnapper.
According to information gathered from previous media reports on Hon. Nwangwu, the Nigerian police arrested and detained him in 2012 for allegedly perpetrating two kidnap or more kidnap offenses, from which he collected ransoms running into more than N30 million.
According to records, he was arrested in Abuja along with a woman, Beatrice Abena Nwangwu, said to be his wife, who facilitates the kidnap of children by pretending to be a house-help in the families of their victims.
Their modus operandi is to get the woman to be employed as a nanny or house-help in a family and after some time, the woman would kidnap one of the children and both of them will take the child to Ghana from where they would contact the family and demand for ransom.
After the publication of the story on the sex romp of the LGA Chairman’s aide, the Chief Press Secretary to the Council Chairman, Ejike Okpe, issued a statement distancing the Chairman from the alleged offence of Hon Nwangwu and said the man would face the consequences of his actions.
However, the statement failed to state whether or not Hon Nwangwu was still in the services of the LGA Chairman as SPA on Transport, although our findings indicate that he was still on the payroll of the council.
How such a high-profile criminal was released from police custody and eventually got into the employment of a political leader in Enugu State is still difficult to understand. But it was learned that Hon Nwangwu was also a close associate of the immediate past governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and may have been introduced to the LGA Chairman by the former governor, who was also his political mentor.
The story of Emmanuel Nwangwu, as captured by Vanguard Newspaper in its report published on May 19, 2012 is as sordid as it is scary and that is why it still a surprise how he managed to be released by the police.
Details of the story are reproduced below and through this link https://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/05/most-wanted-trans-border-kidnappers-how-police-arrested-suspects-5-yrs-after/
In 2008, members of Folarin Coker’s family, a former aide to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, were thrown into disarray when his little daughter was kidnapped and flown to Ghana by a man who was apparently employed into the Coker’s home as a driver.
The man, identified as Emmanuel Nwangwu, who worked barely one month before absconding with the little girl, didn’t show any signs that may have attracted the attention of his employees to his evil intention. On the day he left, he craftily deceived a female house help working for the couple who normally accompany him to the school to pick up the girl by sending her to a departmental store along Awolowo Way, Ikoyi to buy some drugs.
However, as soon as the girl left, he smartly ferried the child to the Mile 2 area of Lagos State and through the aid of his fiancée, Patricia Abena, they boarded a cab that took them straight to Ghana. On arriving in Ghana, Nwangwu placed a call to Mr. Coker’s wife, Folake, and broke news of the abduction and location of her child and also warned that they shouldn’t get the police involved
The fear-stricken woman was said to have pleaded that the kidnappers should not harm her little child assuring that she will heed to their instructions. She also offered to pay any amount to get her back safe and healthy. Following this development, N22 million ransom was later paid and the Cokers reunited with their daughter in a hotel room in Ghana.
Meanwhile, the Cokers weren’t the only family who fell victim to Nwangwu’s exploits. In 2009, two other families, Mr. Afam Edozie, a resident of Banana Island ended up paying N21m as ransom before their girl-child was released to him and one Mrs. Folusho Odegbaide, of Magodo area of the state who paid N2.5 m suffered the same fate.
In the case of Afam Edozie, there was an ugly twist to the kidnap saga after the Police in Ghana ended up releasing Nwangwu’s wife, Patricia, after she was arrested while trying to withdraw the N12m ransom they demanded. Crime Guard learnt that after kidnapping Mr. Edozie’s daughter and demanding a ransom, Nwangwu and his wife became apprehensive when they noticed that the Edozie’s contacted both the police at Interpol, Alagbon, Lagos and their Ghanaian counterparts.
Both security agencies perfected plans to arrest Nwangwu and his wife when they attempted to withdraw the ransom money and rescue the kidnapped child. But the reverse was the case as the Ghanaian police took the ransom from Patricia who they intercepted after she withdrew the money from the bank and set her free without informing Mr. Edozie and the Nigeria Interpol who were waiting for good news.
Later on, Nwangwu placed a call to Mr. Edozie informing him of their losses to the Ghanaian police, and then threatened that his child would be killed if he did not pay another N12 m. Mr. Edozie was said to have pleaded that they should accept N9m which he later paid and his child was released to him.
Crime Guard further gathered that news of the Ghanaian police’s shameful act soon infuriated the Ghanaian police high command who arrested and tried eight police officers who took part in the ransom theft and later dismissed them from the Ghana Police Service. The Ghanaian police didn’t stop at that in trying to redeem their image, they quickly declared Nwangwu and his wife, Patricia, the most wanted criminal in Ghana. Their pictures were published and announced in almost all the media outlets in that country.
However, before these steps were taken, Nwangwu and his wife had spirited themselves away from Ghana before the authorities could lay hands on them. Crime Guard learnt that the couple was smuggled into Ivory Coast where they spent a few nights before flying into Sierra -Leone where they spent a year and a half before relocating to Benin Republic where they set up a new base.
From Benin Republic, the couple returned to Lagos again, using the same modus operandi. His wife secured a nanny job at one Mrs.Odegbaide’s home just as in the Edozie’s home. She worked barely for one month before disappearing with their little daughter. They took her to Benin Republic and then contacted Mrs. Odegbaide demanding N20 m as ransom. She pleaded that she had no such money but begged that they accept N2.5m which she later paid before re-uniting with her daughter.
Crime Guard was reliably informed that the Cokers who vowed that the kidnappers of their daughter in 2008 and who also swindled them of large sums of money must be brought to book did not relent in fighting for justice. They reliably kept on fighting and pressurizing the police to track down Nwangwu and his wife.
According to a police source who pleaded anonymity, “that man was undeterred. He didn’t go to bed like others did. He kept on pressurizing us. He was highly ready to provide mobility for us whenever we picked up a lead on the man and his wife. First, he was working with the police at Ikoyi Division but they were finding it difficult analyzing some of the leads they got on the suspects. Then, they transferred the case to the special anti-robbery squad, SARS, Ikeja, where the officer in charge, SP. Abba Kyari mandated his crack team to trail and apprehend the suspects.”
Incidentally, a few months after Nwangwu and his wife received the N2.5m ransom from Mrs. Odegbaide, they decided to relocate to Lagos as they always did, but on arrival, they realized that the state was too hot for them as security agents from various quarters were on their trail.
By then, policemen from Force Criminal Investigations Department, Alagbon, Zone 2 Command, Onikan, several police divisions in the state, the State Security Service, SSS, and SARS, Ikeja, were frantically searching for them as news of their ejection from Ghana filtered in.
After spending a few days in Lagos, the couple ran to Abuja with the aim of starting from there and using Benin Republic as their base. This time around, Nwangwu, wasn’t as lucky as he used to be in getting employment. He was posted to the home of a retired army Brigadier General and on arriving there, he discovered that the General wasn’t as rich as he anticipated and that his youngest child was over 17 years old and too old to be kidnapped.
He made several efforts to see that he gets redeployed but the agency where he got the job persuaded him to stay at least for one month. While he was waiting, the long arm of the law caught up with him as policemen from SARS who were on his trail for long tracked him down at the home of the General and they apprehended him and his wife.
When the suspects were brought before Crime Guard, at SARS in Ikeja, the 39-year-old man, who wore the demeanor of a defeated man pleaded in a remorseful tone; “Please tell them not to kill me. I admit I have done wrong and I have brought pain to many families but I want to live and pay for my crime. I heard several scarring stories about SARS but I never knew I was going to be brought here someday. I need a time in court to beg every family I have offended for forgiveness.”
Narrating his exploits, he stated: “Kidnapping wasn’t the only crime I committed. It all started in the year 2000 when I fled my hometown in Opi, Nsukka Local Government of Enugu State to Lagos after stabbing my fiancée when she decided not to marry me again
“I got a job as a security guard in a company at Apapa and I worked less than one month before stealing over N750,000 from the company. I fled to Ghana with the money and bought a vehicle I used for a taxi and I spent the rest. In 2005, I returned to Lagos when I felt the case may have died down. Since I am a good driver, I started looking for driving jobs. I applied through an employment agency and when they asked me to get a guarantor, I took the forms they gave me, bought two different colored pens, and filled it with fake names, addresses, and phone numbers.
“I would then go to a photo studio and ask the operator to get me samples of their passport photographs, then I would steal two from it and use them on the guarantor form. This was the trick I used in all the employment agencies and none of them bothered to verify.
The first job I got with it was at Johnbulls Ikoyi and I was driving the CEO of the company but one day, we were going to his office and my boss said he wanted to visit a friend. The moment he went in, I swiftly took the sum of N350,000 he had in the car and ran away to Ghana.
“I returned after some months and avoided Ikoyi where the office is situated. I got a new driving job the same way I got the other one in Victoria Island. I can’t really remember the name of the company or the owner of the money. There, I also took N600,000 and ran to Ghana. But in 2008, I came to Lagos again, used the same method, and got a new job as a driver at the home of one Mrs. Folake.
“My target was solely for money when I got there but all of a sudden, I discovered that I was going to spend so much time in that house before I would lay my hands on any money. So, I decided to kidnap their child. I also realized that this family is very rich and they love their little daughter so much.
“I took her to Ghana where I demanded a ransom of only N20 million. But the little girl’s father opted to pay N22 million. The moment I got this money, I ventured into extravagant spending. I bought a house in Ghana, bought over five exotic cars, and a truck. I started attending several social functions and people were hailing the way I was spending money. I also spent over N2m on orphanages and local primary schools in Ghana. The Deputy Nigeria Ambassador to Ghana and other prominent Nigerians were also in attendance at the handing over ceremony of my donations.
“My extravagance soon attracted armed robbers to my home and later the police came in over illegal possession of firearms. Then, I wasted all the money I got from the Cokers and I became broke. I couldn’t live up to the standard of my social life. I sold off all my vehicles and my house to pay off debts.
“Then, I returned to Nigeria to hunt for more victims. But after two successful trips and one that almost got me into the police net, I was apprehended with my wife. I am happy I have been arrested. Life on the run is never so interesting. If I don’t get killed one day, I might be a free man again and visit my family in the village.” he pleaded.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.