28-year-old Prosper Nwoke, an indigene of Osisioma Local Government Area, Abia State and father of four who is one of the suspects in the robbery gang alleged to have killed an official of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and buried his corpse after receiving a ransom of N6 million, has revealed that he established contact with the man that became his mentor in robbery and kidnapping while he was in prison.
The robbery/kidnapping suspect disclosed that he went into crime in 2016, following which he was arrested and taken to Port Harcourt Prison and the woman he married in 2010 deserted him.
“I went into crime in 2016. Before then, I was selling second hand clothes at Oil-Mill Market in Eleme area and Onyigbo Market in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. While I was doing the business, I was living with my elder brother at Chuba area of Port Harcourt, before he relocated to Sierra Leone. I moved out of his house and rented an apartment in Afam area of Onyigbo.
“There was a day I went to a night club known as Mr. Sweet at Second Artillery area in Port Harcourt. There I met one Anele who introduced me to armed robbery and kidnapping. Anele was a big spender at the night club and I admired him, so we became friends. I asked him the kind of job he was into and he said he was a businessman. But when we became very close; he told me that he was into armed robbery and kidnapping, saying that I could join him if I was interested.
“Since I needed more money to fend for my wife and children, I accepted Anele’s offer and he linked me up with two other members of his gang—East-Man and Gift.
“We attacked a residential estate in Artillery area of Port Harcourt. We went with two guns and robbed some occupants of the estate of their phones and laptops. We took the stolen items to one Alhaji at Presidential Hotel Junction off Aba Road Port Harcourt and sold them.
“I don’t know the amount Anele got from the Alhaji, but I was given N25,000. I took the money to Onyigbo Market and bought some foodstuffs. One week later, some policemen got hint of our gang and arrested Anele who led the policemen to my house and got me and other members of my gang, including the Alhaji arrested.
The police took the Alhaji to his house and they recovered all the stolen items from him and they were given back to the owners while the police granted us bail. I went back to my second- hand clothes business. But two weeks later, one of my friends at Onyigbo called Chima came to me and told me that one of his friends called Available had been disturbing him with his plan to kidnap a woman because he needed someone who would help execute the job. I brought in Anele and his two friends and linked them up with Available, and they all agreed to do the job.
“After careful planning, Anele brought out his guns and we waylaid the woman on her street at Onyingbo. We kidnapped her and took her to an Island in Umuosi community in Afam area of Rivers State. One of my friends known as Chikere, who is a native of Umuosi, was the person who provided the camp we used. Anele also gave Chikere some money to always provide food and other items we would need to keep the woman.
“Anele was also the person communicating with the woman’s husband. Four days later, Anele came to us at the camp and informed us that the woman’s husband had paid her ransom and he gave Chima, Chikere and I, N100,000 each as our share while he blindfolded the woman and took her away.
“I used my own share to buy a bail of used clothes and went back to my clothing business. I don’t know what transpired between Anele and the other guys over the sharing formula and they started quarrelling. The police came and arrested me while I was doing my business. They took all members of my gang, excluding Chikere, to court and we were remanded in prison custody. I spent 13 months in prison before I was granted bail and was released in December 2017.
“While in prison, I learnt of a man known as Italian, a highly notorious criminal with so many boys. He supplied arms and sponsored armed robbery and kidnapping operations in Rivers and other South-South and South-Eastern states. I met a lot of his boys in Port Harcourt Prison and they told me about him. One of them who was in the same cell with me linked me up with him. He gave me his phone number and I spoke with him from the prison. He asked me to meet him in Okrika.
“After I was released, I went to my mother in Aba, Abia State, and spent some months with her. So when I felt I needed to move on, I called his line and he asked if I was out from prison and I said yes. I told him that I had nothing and that I needed his help. He asked me to meet him in Okrika. When I got there, he accommodated me. I also saw several other boys who I had met in prison staying there”