The Untold Story of Osisikankwu, The Most Notorious And Dreaded Kidnap Kingpin in Igboland
There are kidnappers but the story of Obiọma Nwankwo, popularly known as Osisikankwu will always remain indelible in the history of kidnapping in Nigeria. His was a story of an obdurate fellow who recruited more than 3000 men into the nefarious job of kidnapping that terrorised the whole of Abia State especially Aba and environs, even down to Obigbo in Rivers State.
If you had lived in Aba circa 2007- 2010, you would understand definitely what I am saying. It got so terrible that at a point that people living across Ariaria junction of Aba was sacked as the kidnappings got intensified. People packed their belongings and relocated to their villages, many big cats in Aba and environs left Igboland, Abia State government's officials were not spared. Hundreds were abducted, tortured, killed and made to cough out millions to free themselves from the shackles of captivity. Aba and surrounding Ngwa villages almost became a ghost area as people left in their thousands to escape being the next bird of sacrifice.
In my area then at the periphery of Aba, just near Ariaria international market at Abayi Ariana, many big men were kidnapped, even our land lord at Ngọzi Avenue by Faulks road Aba. They were later released after their people had paid the agreed ransome. They equally came for the MD of Calif Hospital in my area but the renowned surgeon escaped and fled Aba. It was not a nice experience. There were also ugly stories of rape and murder. My parents was asking me to return back to village because of the news they're getting from Aba. There were numerous gun battles in broad daylight. Many people lost their lives.
Osisikankwu is from Ogwe area of Ukwa West LGA of Abia State. He succeeded in organising a formidable kidnap gang of about 3000 mean men solely for abduction and killing.
They mainly target the affluent class, expatriates and highly placed government officials of Abia State. The Government of Abia State then under the leadership of Dr Theodore Ahamefula Orji was handicapped. Nothing could be done as hordes of Aba residents were either killed by the rampaging Aba kidnap gang.
1. Three British Nationals and a Columbian contract staff of NetcoDietmann working at Shell's Power Plant in Afam VI, Obigbo LGA of Rivers State were kidnapped by gunmen on January, 12. They barricaded their vehicle on their way back to Obigbo at Owaza junction in Ukwa West LGA of Abia State. They were whisked away after shooting to death a mobile police officer escorting them. The white men were identified as John Bennet, Kelvin Gray and Martin Phillip, all Britons with Fabian Sanchez as the only Columbian. NetcoDietmann and Rivers State government paid a huge ransome before they were freed.
2. In April and May of 2010, two German and three Chnese nationals together with Nine Nigerians working for Nigerian Steel Company, Aba, were kidnapped by Osisikankwu's gang. They were later released after the payment of millions of naira.
3. On July 10, one Mrs Victoria Ori, the wife of an rich bull from Ohafia was abducted by a 4-member gang who demanded for a whooping sum of ₦20 million naira. Mrs Ori was released after a reasonable amount was paid.
4. Just a day after the kidnap of Mrs Ori, three Journalists, together with their driver, travelling through Aba after a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State were whisked away at Umuafuoka junction near Ukpakiri, Obingwa LGA of Abia State by Osisikankwu's men. The kidnapped Journalists include: Wahab Oba, Lagos State Chairman of NUJ, Adolphus Okonkwo, secretary of Zone G of the NUJ, Slyvester Okereke, acting secretary, Lagos, NUJ, Sola Oyeyipo, a Lagos-based journalist and their driver. A reliable source disclosed to Saharareporters that ₦30 million was paid before the men were released from the kidnapper's lair.
5. On Tuesday, August 24, Osisikankwu's gang led by a young thug called 'Okwute' STONE robbed five commercial banks in the Osisioma area of Aba, Killing all policemen and security on guard. The affected banks were closed down till date.
6. On Sunday, September 7, masked gunmen numbering about 15 stormed the 5000 capacity of Jerusalem for All Nations Church at Umuneke Community and bundled away the church's senior pastor, fondly called Christ Junior by his sheeples. A politician, identified as Lambert Nmecha was killed during the operation.
7. On Saturday, September 11, an Indian national working with an electronic company in Aba was killed by a five-man kidnap thugs after he intransigently refused to follow the men in their car. The thugs fled the scene afterwards.
8. A gynaecologist and proprietor of Victory Christian Hospital at Obohia Road, Aba, Dr Stanley Uche was picked up by those monsters on September 17 as he travelled down to Imo State for a family burial with his wife. The wife was later released to go and organise a ₦30 million ransom. She later brought the money only to be given the lidless body of her husband. Aba women's cries rose to high heavens. I believe God heard their wailings and ululation. Dr Uche's hospital was one of the best for child delivery in Aba but he was unfortunately killed by Osisikankwu's men.
9. On Saturday, September 25, two mobile policemen on patrol in their new Hilux were killed in an ambush at Umuafor Ukwu, Obingwa lga of Abia State. After that incident, Abia State Police Command lamented that it has lost 27 of its members to Osisikankwu's gang.
As if that was not enough, Osisikankwu and his men struck again on Monday, 27th September at Abayi International School, Osisioma, Aba, kidnapping 15 pupils of the school. This was the height of it all, the zenith of all their atrocities.
The kidnappers, patrolling in an ash-coloured Toyota Camry intercepted Abayi International school's van and diverted it to an unknown destination. The school children were later released unscathed but the story has gone viral, even capturing the attention of International media houses who expressed disgust at the kidnap crisis engulfing Aba.
Consequently, he was declared wanted by the Nigeria Army and police.
In what appeared to be an inadvertent confessional statement recorded by Chidi Nkwopara, of Vanguard Newspapers, the correspondent was tricked into granting an unsolicited interview by Osisikankwu himself. Mr Nkwopara was deluded into coming to Aba to collect money for advert placement on Vanguard.
According to Mr Nkwopara, he declined on grounds that Aba was a no-go area but the caller persuaded him to come to a popular place at Osisioma to belie his fears. Mr Nkwopara however, agreed and came down to Aba only to meet the dreaded and most wanted militant leader and kidnapper, Osisikankwu.
Since he had been declared wanted, Osisikankwu wanted to use the medium to ventilate himself on why he decided to pick up arms and resort to theft and kidnap.
In the interview which lasted for 30 minutes, Osisikankwu admitted to be the mastermind behind the kerfuffle engulfing Abia State as a whole. He said he was on mission to liberate Ngwaland, the largest tribe in Abia State.
According to him, Ngwaland has been marginalised despite harbouring the commercial and industrial city of Aba and being the oil producing enclave of Abia State. Since the creation of Abia State, other smaller tribes in the state such as the Igberre, Abriba, Ohafia, Umuahia, Item, Aro etc, have being advantaged.
Only Ukwa-Ngwa, the largest tribe in the state with nine local governments were neglected, relegated to the background. He complained about the grim and ramshackle roads in Aba, the corruption of the T. A Orji kedu Government and the ballooning cases of unemployment among Ukwa-Ngwa youths.
He was happy the world then knew about their activities and was willing to surrender and be granted amnesty and rehabilitation only if the Abia State government was willing to help them.
The Igbo people will invariably say that one does not stay in his home and grow hunchback or squash his scrotum. Also, an elder will not sit down silent while the goat suffers the pains of parturition while tethered to a stake. Home is where comfort lies and when an enemy comes to disrupt the peace of a home, such enemy must be chased away.
Following the abduction of Aba School Children which raised dust globally, the Federal Government under the leadership of newly sworn-in Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had to intervene. A troop of Joint Military Task Force was deployed to Abia State on a mission to crack down on the kidnappers.
The Military Task Force worked hard until December 12, when they successfully caught and killed the small shit that ruins the anus: OSISIKANKWU!
According to Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, an Army Spokesman then, the notorious criminal was killed at Ugwuati Evil Forest in Ukwa West LGA of Abia State, after a fierce gun duel between the Joint Military Task Force and Osisikankwu's gang. It was a war of charms, of juju and of the paranormal.
The soldiers after emerging victorious displayed the body of the kidnap kingpin in an open van round Aba to the ecstasy and jubilation of Aba residents. How Art the mighty fallen.
Osisikankwu's girlfriend, Ogochi was also arrested during the operation. Ogochi who was reportedly three months pregnant pointed out the exact locations where Osisikankwu's lair was.
Consequent upon the revelation, a mop of operation was carried out the JTF in the Ugwuati Evil Forest. The operation led to the recovery of the following: 48 empty magazine of AK 47; 3,848 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition; 538 rounds of 7.62 mm Nato; 41 expended cases of 7.62mm special ammunition; some quantity of dynamite and 3 RPG prima.
In a swift reaction, the Abia State Government, under the Theodore Orji kedu administration, described the killing of Osisikankwu as the 'triumph of light over darkness' and commended the JTF for their dogged fight against the notorious Kidnapper.