A senior official of the Enugu State Ministry of Justice and a police investigator say they would treasure international assistance to help track down two notorious suspects in a major kidnap case now under trial. A former junior police officer, Desmond Ibezimako Chinwuba, and a Divisional Police Officer, Sam Chukwu, remain on the run after prosecutors in Enugu fingered them in the 2009 kidnap of Lotachukwu (aka Lota) Ezeudu. Lota Ezeudu was a 19-year-old second year accountancy student at the University of Nigeria (Enugu campus) when he was kidnapped in September, 2009. He has not been seen since.
Investigations by police and prosecutors determined that DPO Chukwu was the mastermind of a kidnap ring that featured Chinwuba, Ernest Okeke, and several others. The detained suspects include Uche Moses Amajor, whose father, Charles Amajor, resides in Kaduna but owned Prosper Hotel in the Trans-Ekulu area of Enugu, Ernest Okeke, a former police officer, and Nnaemeka Chukwu, the son of DPO Sam Chukwu. The trial judge has issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Chukwu, but he has been in hiding for more than two years. The arrested suspects are undergoing trial at an Enugu High Court presided over by Justice Afam Nwobodo. However, both Chinwuba and Sam Chukwu remain in hiding, eluding prosecutors who want to dock them for the kidnap and disappearance of Lota Ezeudu.
“I wish the police authorities in Abuja would seek the direct help of detectives from the US or some other country with the right expertise and equipment in order to track down the fugitives,” said a source at the Ministry of Justice. He added that the involvement of American soldiers in the search for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls was likely to lead to results in identifying their location soon and possibly rescuing them.
“Kidnapping cases have become fewer around here due to the vigilance of people, better police investigation, and prosecution of perpetrators of such criminal acts. But I believe that we need concerted help from detectives from the US and other countries in order to find some of these kidnappers who are evading justice. And that’s the way to drive kidnappers out of business.”
Asked why Nigerian law enforcement agents should not be able to sniff out fugitives and make life difficult for kidnappers, the official admitted that it is sad for Nigeria to depend on outsiders to solve its problems. “However, the reality on the ground is that our police don’t have some of the technical expertise and sophisticated equipment to engage in certain tasks. Nigeria’s lack of surveillance know-how is the main reason President Jonathan has accepted help from the US to track the girls of Chibok. Let us also seek that kind of help to find dangerous suspects such as DPO Sam Chukwu and Desmond Chinwuba.” The source said he believed that Sam Chukwu was in Nigeria being shielded by high-ranking police officers. “Some people have told us that he [Sam Chukwu] has been sighted in Abuja and Enugu in the company of police officers,” said the ministry official. He added: “It is unfortunate that, despite a court order for Sam Chukwu’s arrest, the IG [Inspector General] of Police has never given orders to his uniformed rank and file to find and apprehend him.” He said the case of Mr. Chinwuba is different, since that suspect is believed to have fled outside of Nigeria.
A police source familiar with the Lota Ezeudu case agreed. “We have tried our best to track down Desmond,” he said, “but our information is that he is living somewhere outside Nigeria, but in West Africa. We don’t have the manpower to pursue him, but it is easier for Interpol from a country like America to find and arrest him.”
Desmond Chinwuba, who is 5ft 4 inches tall, is from Oduma in Aninri local government area of Enugu State. He is in his 30s and speaks English, Igbo and pidgin. His last known address was 5 Amucha Avenue, Ariara Aba in Imo State.
Anybody with information on the whereabouts of Desmond Chinwuba or Sam Chukwu’s location should make a confidential call to 0803.717.1380 or 0803.545.4840. A handsome financial reward will be offered to anybody who offers information that leads to either suspect’s arrest.