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Witness tells court how suspected kidnappers of Agbasimalo, Anambra LP guber candidate played role in his alleged kidnap saga

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By Chuks Eke

The Founder of Oga-Ndi-Oga Foundation and Solidarity Movement, Chief Godwin Agbasimalo, has told an Ihiala High Court sitting at Nnewi in Anambra State how two kidnap suspects, Chukwudi Odimegwu and Maxwell Nwokolo allegedly played in the kidnap of the Labour Party, LP governorship candidate in the 2021 Anambra State governorship election, Obiora Agbasimalo.

The LP governorship candidate was abducted on September 18, 2021, at Azia in Ihiala Local Government Area of the state, while returning from a function and his whereabouts still yet unknown to date.

In a Suit No.HIH/15C/22, the two accused persons, Chukwudi Odimegwu and Maxwell Nwokolo alongside others at large are standing trial before the court for alleged conspiracy and kidnap of Agbasimalo as preferred in a charge by the Department of State Services at an Awka Magistrate Court in Charge No. MAW/506/2022, on a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping.

They were arraigned before a Magistrate Court contrary to Sections 495 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 36, Vol. II, Revised Laws of Anambra state of Nigeria, 1991 and 315 (2) (a) (b) (c) of the Criminal Code (Amended) Law of Anambra state of Nigeria, 2009 and consequently remanded in the. Prison custody, while the case file was transferred to DPP for further trial.

Consequently, the DPP came up with charges of allegedly arming themselves with guns and other offensive weapons and kidnapping Agbasimalo against his will and thereafter demanded a ransom of N1million, N5million and another N1million totalling N7million from his family for his release and yet after receiving the ransom, failed to release him till date.

But testifying before Justice C.N. Mbonu-Nwenyi, at the Nnewi High Court, at a resumed hearing, the Seventh Prosecution Witness, Chief Godwin Agbasimalo, told the court that the second defendant, Maxwell Nwokolo collected huge sums of money from him as ransome as a commitment to facilitate the release of the kidnapped LP candidate to him.

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Agbasimalo, who is a cousin to the kidnapped victim who mounted the witness box, also recounted that the second defendant severally demanded and collected ransome monies from him, including a sum of N5million that was paid in two instalments of N2.5 million each, for transfer to the abductors, in addition to four motorcycles, which would be used to enter the unmotorable bushy path leading to the kidnappers’ camp to bring the victim out.

He said, “The second defendant told us he had escaped from an unnamed camp where the kidnapped victim was held and that he came to my residence that fateful evening to confirm who was actually kidnapped between me and my cousin(Obiora).

“The second defendant severally demanded and collected ransome monies from me, including N5million I handed over to him in two instalments of N2.5 million each. He told us he was in constant communication with the kidnappers and claimed that the money was meant to be transferred to the abductors.

“In addition to the money he collected, he requested for four motorcycles which would be used to enter the unmotorable bushy path leading to the forest where the abductors were holding my cousin, to bring him out.

“The second defendant, who doubles as the Coordinator of Oga Ndi Oga Solidarity Movement for Ekwusigo Local Government Area, had equally honoured a visit to the palace of his traditional ruler, alongside four other supposed members of the alleged kidnap gang, led by one of its commanders known as ‘Black Stone’ and repeated all the things he had told me.

“He assured us before the traditional ruler that the kidnapped victim, who is my cousin, would be released, once the money gets to the kidnappers. But to our surprise, after all the ransom payments, the Second Defendant failed to live up to expectation to use his promised close relationship with the alleged kidnappers to secure the release of my cousin and LP governorship candidate till date.”

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He said after meeting the financial demands of the Second Defendant, who said he was in contact with the abductors, his cousin and the LP candidate has not been released till now.

Earlier, the witness had told the Presiding Judge that the First Defendant, Odimegwu, who worked as his Personal Assistant and driver, had acted suspiciously after he had collected the sum of N100,000 to fuel campaign buses meant for a journey by Oga Ndi Oga Solidarity Movement supporters and well-wishers, but switched off his telephone and lied to them that the journey had been cancelled.

He further disclosed that, after the attack and abduction of the victim, the First Defendant, who drove the kidnapped victim in the vehicle, did not reach him, but chose to break the news of the kidnap to his girlfriend, one Kosisochukwu, who told others how the LP candidate was kidnapped by unknown gunmen after an attack on the convoy of the LP governorship candidate.
The testimony of the PW7, came on the heels of threat by the Presiding Judge to withdraw from the matter if both parties to the suit made any perceived insinuation to tendency to miscarry justice or tarnish her image.

After over two hours in the witness box, the prosecution witness was not cross-examined as the presiding Judge, Justice Mbonu-Nwenyi, adjourned the matter till Friday, May 31, for further hearing.

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