A suspected assassin has confessed to the police that he and his gang was paid to kill the Deputy General Manager of Ecobank in Enugu State, Ogbonne Ogeri Nnachi Ibiam.
Obinna Onyekulujie, the 43-year old suspect, also known as Obaino refused to disclose the name of the person who contracted his gang to kill Ibiam but confessed to the police that he was a member of the Enugu-based robbery gang.
According to police sources at the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, the suspect claimed he received N1.5 million out of the N15 million paid to his five-man gang to assassinate the bank manager.
Onyekulujie confessed that he along with others now at large robbed and killed Ibiam on 14 December, 2012. Ibiam was the Ecobank Deputy General Manager and Regional Head (Retail) on Liberty Estate Road, Enugu State, southeast Nigeria, when he was killed.
The suspect also admitted that he carried out the crime with members of his gang Ogechukwu Uzor, a.k.a. Don Whisky, now detained at the Enugu State Police Command SARS Office for other robbery incidents, as well as another suspect, Emmanuel Nwankwo, a.k.a. Nwonovo, Chidi and OG, now at large.
Weapons recovered from the house of the suspect include one cut-to-size double barrel gun, one English barretta pistol, four brownie pistols, 18 live cartridges and 13 rounds of AK- 47 ammunition.
Police said the suspect was arrested following a written petition from the wife of the late bank manager (name withheld) to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar.
The wife of the victim was not satisfied with the investigation of the murder of her late husband by the Enugu State Police Command and that the murder be investigated by another police formation outside Enugu State for her to get justice.
Following the approval of the petition by the IGP, the Commissioner of Police, FSARS Lagos, CP Mohammed Gana, was directed to send his men to the Enugu State Police Command to bring the case file of the murder and the arrested suspects to Lagos.
In his confessional statement to the police, Obinna allegedly wrote: “I am a member of a five-man gang that specialised in snatching exotic cars from their owners in Enugu and reselling them to buyers in Onitsha and Nnewi in Anambra State.
On 12 December, 2012, my partners in crime and gang leader Ogechukwu Uzor, Nwankwo Emmanuel and others now at large contacted me that they have a job to do and as the gang’s driver, I obeyed them and drove them to the place of operation.
We traced our target on 14 December, 2012 to the Liberty Estate Road in Enugu State and Ogechukwu Uzor shot severally at a man inside a Camry car and we collected two phones in the car.
We drove off after we confirmed that he was dead. After the operation, Emmanuel gave me N1.5m with the stolen handsets and I gave one to my girlfriend. Emmanuel later told me that someone paid them N15 million to do the job.
I don’t know the person that paid the money. It is only Emmanuel Nwankwo that can identify the sponsor, if arrested.
I was arrested by the police through my girlfriend with the stolen phone. We have also, prior to the operation, invaded Global filling station and Jezco Oil & Gas on Amaechi Road Enugu to rob and I used my share from the operation to build a house in my village.”
After investigation by Inspector Oluwamimo Banjoko and his team , Obinna was taken back to Enugu State and arraigned before the Enugu Magistrates’ Court on an eight-count charge of felony, to wit, armed robbery, murder and unlawful possession of firearms.
The offences, the prosecutor, ASP Emmanuel Akpa, said contravened sections 6(b) 1(2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (special provisions), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and sections 324 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Enugu State of Nigeria.
The plea of the accused was not taken because the lower court lacks jurisdiction to try the matter. The presiding magistrate, J. Mbe ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody pending the advice from the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) on the matter.