When Colonel Samalia Inusa, a Chief Instructor at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, Kaduna State, was abducted by unknown gunmen at Kamazo area of Kaduna Refinery Road, on March 26, 2016, many thought his abduction and eventual killing might have been a revenge mission by members of the Shiite Islamic sect, who were embroiled in a bloody clash with the Nigerian Army in December 2015.
Over 374 members of the Shiite Islamic Sect were alleged to have been killed during the clash which occurred in Zaria area of Kaduna State. The incident was reported to have thrown the entire Kaduna Metropolis into panic as many feared that the Shiite Sect would stage retaliations.
So, as news of the abduction and killing of Col. Inusa filtered into town in March 2016, accusing fingers were pointed at the Shiite, who were also known as the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, while the Sect in a swift reaction rebuffed the allegations, calling it a smear campaign to destroy it image.
Arrest of suspects
Three month after the abduction and killing, the police authorities in Abuja announced that it operatives at the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (SIRT), and men of the Kaduna State Police Command, Special Intelligence Bureau, SIB, have arrested four suspects who participated in the abduction and killing of the colonel.
It was gathered that the SIRT operatives who were deployed to Kaduna State by IGP Solomon Arase, to track down the bandits, had trailed a Techno mobile phone which was robbed from the slain colonel, to a prison warden, Abdulahi Adamu, who is believed to be a close associate of one of the suspects, Ibrahim Kabiru, who was already in the custody of the SIB in Kaduna State. The SIB operatives who were trailing car snatchers terrorizing the state, were said to have arrested Kabiru and his boss, Ebere Precious, who is also known as “Pastor”, for armed robbery.
Their interrogation and subsequent confessions aided the SIRT operatives in apprehending the gang leader, Emeka Okeke Cyprain who was said to have personally shot Col. Inusa. One Chijioke Ugwuanyi was also arrested.
Going into crime
Meanwhile, when Crime Guard interviewed the suspects, Cyprian, a native of Imo State narrated how he killed Col. Inusa, stating that he had no regret killing the colonel as the latter was about killing him. He also narrated how he went into crime and provided details of his robbery escapades around Kaduna Metropolis. The 44-year-old man and father of three said: “I went into robbery three years ago and I started by hijacking trucks on the Katangura Road, Kaduna State.
We normally barricade the road, which is usually busy, with broken-down vehicles and big woods, and when a truck carrying goods stops in front of our barricade, we would attack the driver and the conductor with machete and drag them into the bush and we would hijack the truck and take it to our receiver, Dan Sokoto, who would smuggle it to Niger Republic.
“In our first operation, we hijacked a truck carrying 600,000 cartons of Indomie Noodles, and Dan Sokoto and a member of our gang, Ogbonna Nwobodo took the goods to Niger Republic and when they returned they brought N2 million for the goods. Dan Sokoto told me that they dumped the truck because people don’t buy trucks in Niger Republic. I got N300,000 as my share of the loot and I didn’t give my wife out of it. I was angry with her because I caught her sleeping with another man twice. So, I spent my money on drinks, women and hotel.
“We usually call our gang ‘company’ and Nwobodo was the leader. But because of the little amount Dan Sokoto and Nwobodo brought from that first operation, our company got scattered and we didn’t do any job for five months. Dan Sokoto later called us and tried to reorganise the company. We had new terms for the sharing of our loot and because I am the striker who went after the driver and conductor, I insisted on getting the lion share.
“We hijacked another vehicle carrying spaghetti, on the same route and Ogbonna took the truck to Dan Sokoto and they took it to Niger and got N330,000 which was higher that I used to get. “On our third operation, we hijacked another truck carrying spaghetti and we asked Dan Sokoto to get us two pistols with the goods and pay us the balance in cash. He got us the two pistols and brought N1 million which we all shared. Since we had got two pistols, I deiced to sideline Nwobodo and his boys. I formed my own company and I brought in Chijoke, Ebere Kabiru and we went fully into car-snatching.
“We snatched a 2005 Toyota Sienna and told Dan Sokoto that Ogbonna was no longer part of our company and that before the selling of any of our goods, he must ensure that I speak with the buyer in Niger Republic myself and agree on the price first. When he took the vehicle into Niger, I spoke to one Garuba and he paid us N700,000. I got N120,000 as my share and I told him that I liked the way he did the business and I promised to always get him vehicles.
“We like doing business two times in a week, because it provided us the chance to relax and monitor the environment. We collected a Toyota Corolla 2008 Model and gave it to Dan Sokoto who took it to Niger Republic and was paid N600,000, and I got N200,000 as my share. We then robbed a Honda Anaconda and sold it for N700,000 and I got N150,000.”
‘How I killed Col. Inusa’
“On the Saturday evening the colonel was killed, we were on the road and saw a Mercedes jeep with flashy lights. Then we followed the vehicle to Kamazo area and to a house. When the driver stopped to open the gate, we went after the driver and discovered that the driver was a woman and a man was also seated inside. I suspected that the man was the owner of the vehicle, then I ordered him into our own car and asked Chijioke to drive the Mercedes to Dan Sokoto. Kabiru was the one driving our own car. I told the man to relax that all I wanted was his car and we were not going to kill him.
“We took him into a bush in Abuja By-pass, Kaduna. I then told Kabiru to go into the bush with the man. I told him again that he was a big guy and he could always buy another vehicle.
“He asked for water, but when I was about giving him the water, the man dived me and the gun and removed the magazine from the gun. I was shocked. He gave me headbutt and beat me so much, but I held tightly to the rifle and we rolled ourselves on the floor. I honestly don’t know when the trigger started firing. But if not for God, the man would have killed me. Luckily for me, the trigger fired and I shot the man.
“I didn’t know that the man was an army officer, but I was surprised that he was very strong. It was after a few hours later, when Chijioke called and told me what he saw in the man’s car, that I realised I was in deep trouble. We sold the car for N900,000 and I advised everyone to take time out and rest. “Then the news was everywhere. Chijioke told me that he wanted to quit. We did our last job and we stole an Avalon. But we couldn’t reach Dan Sokoto, and Chijioke took the car to Niger Republic by himself and sold it to Garuba, who then informed him that Dan Sokoto had been arrested by policemen at Birnin Kebi over a N250 million case.
“Chijioke relocated to Enugu, while I stayed back in Kaduna, watching as things unfolded. Kabiru went and join Ebere. But not long after that, they were both arrested by SIB Kaduna. “Last Saturday, I was in my sister’s house sleeping when the Police came into our house very early in the morning and asked who was Emeka. I told them I was the one and they asked me why I killed Col. Inusa, and I told them that I would reveal everything when we get to the station. At the station, I also helped in luring Chijioke back to Kaduna where he was also arrested.”
‘Poverty pushed me into crime’
But 44-year-old Chijioke Ugwuanyi, who is a graduate of economics from Enugu State University, blamed poverty for his involvement in crime. The suspect who is a native of Nsukka, Enugu State told Crime Guard: “After graduation, I couldn’t get a good job, so I moved to Lagos and worked with an insurance company. I worked as a marketer and I wasn’t well paid. They told me that I would earn my pay through commission. “However, I did that for long and nothing meaningful came out from it and I quit and went to teach in a secondary school at Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos and was earning N5.000 monthly as a graduate.
“After a while, I started riding okada. One of my friends from the village who never went to school saw me and pitied me. He was earning more money than myself as truck driver. Then I joined him as a conductor and I started seeing little money. It was at that point that I started meeting criminals. I met Emeka through one Alhaji in Onitsha and they wanted to sell a trailerload of rice that they had hijacked.
“I linked them to a buyer who paid N1.5 million for the goods and I was given N80,000 as my share. That was how I joined the gang. After we kidnapped the colonel and I was taking his car to Niger Republic, I searched and saw the man’s uniform, ID card and other military accoutrement, then I called Emeka and asked him not to kill the man.
But he told me that the man was already dead and that it was as if it was his destiny to kill the man because the man was so stubborn and the almost killed him (Emeka). After that operation, I left Kaduna to Enugu State and went and fixed my truck with the intention to return to driving again. But suddenly, I was arrested. It was unfortunate. I have always known that we would be arrested because we were not supposed to kill anyone”, he lamented.