By Our Reporter
The police yesterday explained why the alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, aka Evans, was moved out of Lagos State Command to the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
A senior police officer who did not want his name in print confirmed that Evans had been moved out of Lagos by the Police. He stressed that he was only moved from the Lagos State Police Command to Police Headquarters Abuja, from where he would be taken to Ghana and South Africa for further investigations.
“You know that we got a court order to detain Evans for three months and the reason is to enable us conclude investigations, which will take us to Ghana and South Africa. That was the reason we moved him to Abuja. The rumour making round was that he has vanished. No, Evans is still in our custody. He did not vanish.
The clarification by the police came on the heels of a report in Saturday Sun, yesterday, which carried the banner headline, Evans Vanishes, buttressed with these bullets: Billionaire kidnapper’s whereabouts unknown; 30 heavily armed men move him out of Lagos at midnight.
When the story hit the newsstand and the website of The Sun, readers were quick to express umbrage over the headline.
Interestingly, the headline was a classic one done in the global tabloid news tradition to give the story an exciting touch.
It is to be noted that one of the meanings of the word, ‘vanish’ is, “sudden movement out of sight or inexplicably.”
It is also to be noted that the police had given briefings after Evans was arrested and also taken journalists to his Magodo home and Igando hideout. When the police decided to move the kidnap kingpin out of sight, it fuelled suspicion.
In the wake of the dust raised by the story yesterday, and to douse public anxiety, the Police Headquarters issued an official statement through the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, who said: “Evans is intact in police custody. He did not vanish anywhere.”
The officer in-charge of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Assistant Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, who corroborated the remarks of the police spokesman added: “In accordance with the 90-day remand order from the Federal High Court, investigation covering three countries is in progress. We cannot joke with the security of Nigeria. So, Evans has not vanished, he is in our custody.”
A lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje had on behalf of Evans instituted a lawsuit against the Inspector-General of Police and three others before a Federal High Court in Lagos over what he termed illegal detention of the alleged kidnap kingpin.
In the suit, Evans allegedly made a claim of N300 million as general and exemplary damages against the police for “illegal detention and unconstitutional media trial.”
Few days after the lawsuit became public, Evans categorically denied the court case, claiming that he did not brief the lawyer to initiate any litigation on his behalf, stating that he preferred to remain in the protective custody of the police.
He said he might be killed as he had stepped on many toes if he were to be released.