The Anti-kidnap Unit of the Enugu State Police Command yesterday arrested four armed robbery and kidnap suspects.
The command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ebere Amaraizu, a deputy superintendent of police, said in a statement made available to journalists that the suspects gave their names as Ifeanyichukwu Ngene, alias German Poison; Chukwuebuka Agbo, alias Offor; Tochukwu Aninwewo, alias Makojo; and Monday Ogbodo, alias Montiga.
This happened as no fewer than 50 passengers – most of them students of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) – escaped death yesterday when a shuttle bus conveying them to their temporary site in Agbani from Enugu metropolis caught fire.
Similarly, a duplex located along Brown and Brown in Independence Layout Enugu was gutted by fire around 11am, no life was however lost.
Amaraizu said the suspects were arrested by the unit’s operatives, who had been on their trail following their nefarious activities ranging from the alleged kidnap of one Afamefuna Ugwu on July 9, 2014 at Ugwuaji axis of the state and was taken to a thick forest at Obeagu Ugwuaji in Enugu South Local Government Area of the state.
The suspects had demanded the sum of N28 million and when the amount was not forthcoming, reduced it to N1 million.
The statement further noted that as they were waiting with their victim expecting the money to be brought, the operatives of the Anti-kidnap Unit of the state command, who had been on their trail following the report made to them closed them up.
Amaraizu said the suspects are helping the police in their investigations.
They admitted their culpability in the act but stated that they never knew that what they were doing was unlawful, as they only wanted to collect money from their victim.
The statement further disclosed that the suspects were already regretting their action, adding that if they were left off the hook, they would not go back to the crime again.
In the bus fire incident, sources said most of the students and other passengers sustained varying degrees of injuries, while they were jumping out from the windows of the bus popularly called Enugu Coal City Shuttle Bus.
THISDAY checks further revealed that valuables including laptops and handsets belonging to the students were completely destroyed by fire, which occurred around 2pm near the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) junction.
The coordinator of the Coal City Shuttle Bus, Nnaemeka Ojibe, said the fire was caused by faulty battery, insisting however that the buses usually undergo routine checks and maintenance every week.
A victim of the fire disaster and computer science student of ESUT, Miss Ebere Okechi, told THISDAY that bystanders discovered the fire under the bus.
“I lost my Nokia phone, all the passengers inside the vehicle did not know that the shuttle bus was burning, outsiders were shouting ‘fire, fire’ before we started jumping out of the bus,” she said.