Alleged Kidnapper Collects N100,000 Ransom, Demands N2m Same Day, Says Complainant

The complainant in a kidnap case, Onyeka Igbikis, has said that the same day she paid N100,000 as ransom for release of her boat driver was when the alleged kidnapper again asked for N2 million ransom.

She was being led in evidence by state prosecuting counsel, Kingsley Briggs, at the High Court presided by Honourable Justice I. R. Minakiri when she stated this on Monday.

According to her, her boat driver was kidnapped along New Calabar River around Cawthorne Channel on 19 January, 2020 by the alleged kidnapper and rescued on 20 January, 2020.

She was called to the witness box and was sworn in to testify on Monday.

She had said that she was a businesswoman who dealt in wood and owned a boat with a driver.

She gave the name of the boat driver as Sunny Michael Thompson saying that he was from Akwa Ibom State.

When asked, she said that she knew the defendant who was in the dock and was brought out of prison cell for the trial.

The witness said that the kidnapper took her driver’s phone and had called her and said that her driver was kidnapped and had demanded N3million ransom.

The witness said that the defendant had sent his account number and she had paid N100,000 on 20 January.

She said that the account was registered in Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB).

The account number was read by the state prosecuting counsel and was confirmed by the witness.

She said after the first payment the defendant asked her the same day to pay N2 million as ransom for release of her driver.

The witness said she had begged him over the money but he had refused.

She also said that the kidnapper had given phone to her driver who had spoken with her.

The defendant, Matthew Atie, was in the dock throughout the trial and the case is being prosecuted by the Rivers State government.

The counsel for the defendant was in court at the trial.

The presiding judge adjourned to 13 and 20 June for the continuation of cross-examination.

Speaking about the case weeks earlier at the end of cross-examination of his witness, who was the victim, by defence counsel, state prosecuting counsel, Kingsley Briggs, said that it was the state’s responsibility to prosecute crime.

The state counsel said: “Every matter that has to do with criminal prosecution more especially when it has to do with capital issues it is the state that prosecutes”.

He said at the time that such capital offences include homicide, kidnapping, armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms with each carrying death sentence.

On the kidnap case, he said that it involved the alleged kidnap of a boat driver in 2020 along Cawthorne Channel and how the owner had complained to the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), who had later rescued the kidnap victim.

Under cross-examination the kidnap victim had said he was kidnapped on January 19, 2020 and was rescued on January 20.


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