Billionaire transporter and Chairman of G. U. O. Motors Limited, Chief Godwin Okeke, yesterday, commenced his evidence-in-chief at an Onitsha High Court in Anambra State, presided over by Justice Chudi Nwankwo, in respect of his abduction by kidnappers in Onitsha on Sunday, August 23, 2009.
Okeke who spoke under oath, shortly after the court granted a motion to file and serve additional prove of evidence with respect to one of the suspected kidnappers, Alexander Onyinanya, filed by the prosecution counsel, Chris Ajugwe with Mrs. N. D. Wilcox.
He narrated his encounter with the kidnappers at the All Saints Anglican Church Cathedral, Onitsha when he went for a Sunday worship with his wife, driver and some family members.
However, counsel to the first and third accused persons, O. U. Uduma and J. N. Okongwu, did not object to the prosecution counsel’s motion to file and serve additional prove of evidence with respect to the third accused, Onyinanya.
Led in the evidence by his counsel, Okeke stated that he went for 7 a.m. service which ended at about 10 a.m, adding that between 10.30 and 11 a.m., his wife mounted the steering of his Nissan Amanda Spots Utility Van, SUV, and was driving towards the church gate when suddenly, gunmen blocked the car with a bus in front and a Mercedes Benz car at the rear.
Okeke told the court that before he could ask questions, the gunmen started shooting sporadically, adding that even though he managed to disarm one or two of them, they shattered his left leg, over-powered him, drove away his wife and family members before bundling him into his SUV and zoomed off with the abductors’ vehicles following.
He said: “At Umuoji Road, my abductors discovered that their tyres were deflated during the exchange of fire with the policemen and they quickly jumped out of the vehicles, blocked the road, snatched two other vehicles from their unsuspecting owners and transferred their arms and ammunition, including 9 AK 47 riffles, rocket launchers, machine guns and a big Ghana-must-go bag filled with loaded magazines and live cartridges into the snatched vehicles.
“They continued their journey and drove through Alor, Adazi-Ani and Adazi-Enu. On getting to somewhere between Adazi-Enu and Neni communities in Anaocha Local Government Area of the state, they drove into a bungalow, rounded up the occupants, who were mainly children, locked them up in one of the rooms and kept me inside the living room.
“I removed my shirt and tied my bleeding leg as part of measures to control the blood gushing out from the bullet wound. At a stage, I became thirsty and requested them to give me water to drink. Two of the abductors, Emeka Eze and Anthony Ifeanyi Okafor were with me while others were outside monitoring movements.”
He said the duo with him advised him not to drink water because of his bullet wound but he insisted on drinking and eventually they gave him the water which he drank.
He said: “I overheard those outside asking the detained children where they kept oil, salt and other condiments because at that point, they had started cooking breadfruit meal for lunch.
He said after cooking, they presented the food and he ate with them. He said among those outside, two of them, a tall and short one wore masks, adding that he could discover that the tall one, Alexander Onyinanya, the third accused with mask was his former employee
“I could identify Onyinanya because he limps as a result of an accident he had when he was working for me. I was the one who paid his hospital bill when he had the accident.
“After eating the breadfruit meal, they praised me for my courage and for accepting their food, unlike other victims who usually refuse to eat during their captivity.”
He said they now asked him to get ready for negotiation to which he paid attention.
“They told me that Chief Paul Okonkwor, Managing Director of Pokobros Group West Africa Limited paid them N70 million as ransom when they kidnapped him, while Chief Anthony Enukeme, Managing Director of Tonimas Oil Limited paid them N80 million during his own time and told me to pay them N100 million.
“I replied them promptly that Okonkwor and Enukeme are millionaires, while I am a billionaire, and offered them N1 billion, instead of N100 million.
“The offer gave them special joy as they now dropped their weapons by the side, relaxed and asked me how and when the money would get to them to which I told them that the money was in the bank.”
At this stage, Justice Nwankwo ordered him to stop for the day till the next adjourned date.
The court now adjourned the matter to November 14, 26, 27, 28, December 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9, this year for accelerated hearing and possible dispensation.