Seven months after he was released from prison custody in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over kidnapping, Sorbari Apollolos has found his way back to the place for the same offence.
Popularly known as Blackie among his gang members, Apollolos was recently arrested by the police for kidnapping a 67-year-old businesswoman identified only as Obianuju.
Apollolos and three other suspects, Daniel Johngbo, Harridon Barryira and Lebara Tobia, were apprehended at several locations in the state.
Obianuju was returning home from a church in a Toyota Sienna on February 7, 2019, when the gun-wielding kidnappers ambushed her some metres away from her Rumuobiakani residence.
The suspects, some of whom were reportedly dressed in military camouflage, whisked the woman away in her vehicle.
They allegedly held her hostage in a forest for six days and collected millions of naira in ransom before she was released.
Our correspondent learnt that the woman petitioned the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who directed the Intelligence Response Team of the Force to find the perpetrators of the crime.
IRT operatives tracked down Apollolos at his hideout in Kono-Bowe community in the Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
He was said to have confessed to the crime and given the police team information that led to the arrest of the three other members of the gang.
Apollolos, who said he was in prison for offences bordering on kidnapping and cult-related activities, told our correspondent that he took to the crime again to raise money to settle a lawyer who facilitated his release from the prison.
He stated, “I am a member of De-Gbam cult. I was initiated in 2011 by one of my friends known as Tambake Tax, who is the unit head of the confraternity in my community. I was introduced to kidnapping by one Ayapsi, alias Gbenena, and one Gboma. We were all involved in the kidnapping of Mrs Obianuju. I did that ‘job’ because I needed money to balance my lawyer who helped to secure my release from the prison in September 2018. I was held for engaging in cult-related activities and kidnapping in March 2016.
“I approached Gbenena for financial assistance and offered him my farmland in exchange for the money but he refused. He said he had a kidnapping job that would be more profitable for me. On February 5, 2019, one of Gbenena’s friends, who had been monitoring our target (Obianuju), came to his house and told us that it was time to strike. Gbenena also informed us that he had made arrangements for an army uniform that would be used by the driver of our vehicle, Barriyra, to beat security checkpoints.
“On February 7, 2019, Gbenena invited me to his house and when I got there, I met Barriyra and Gboma’s brother, who was holding an army uniform. I also saw a Toyota Corolla, and two AK-47 rifles. Gbenena prayed for us at his shrine and we headed for Port Harcourt. I took one of the AK-47 rifles, while Gboma’s brother with the army uniform was armed with an English pistol.”
Apollolos said ransom negotiation and collection were carried out by Gbenena, noting that a resident of the area where Obianuju resides gave the “job” to the gang.
Recalling his kidnapping escapades, the 28-year-old man stated that he took to the crime in 2015 and participated in two operations before he was arrested in March 2016.
He said he got N150,000 share from N800,000 ransom they collected from the relatives of one of their victims whom they kidnapped in Nyorkwe community.