For Messrs Gabriel Adoga and Onugwe Chukudi Well, the joy of acquiring their long-desired iPhones turned sour a few minutes after leaving a phone dealers shop at the popular Banex Plaza in the Wuse 11 District of Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of power.
On Wednesday, January 18, 2023, the pair had left their homes in Bwari, Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, in company with two of their friends to purchase the phones of their dream at Banex Plaza, located in a commercial hub at the centre of the nation’s capital city.
Time was about 1pm and the pair exited the shop in excitement, clutching their latest high-tech smart phones as they boarded a waiting Uber cab which they had booked on standby.
Barely 10 minutes into the journey on their way home, the cab was intercepted at Nicon Junction, a busy area inward the highbrow Maitama District of Abuja by four armed men riding in an unmarked Madza bus.
Adoga and Onugwe were shocked and scared stiff when the armed men in mufti identified themselves as police officers. More so, when the men said they were tracking their newly bought iPhones.
Pronto, the policemen seized the phones, held them hostage after bundling them into their operational vehicle and demanded for a sum of N1million from the pair to regain their freedom.
Perhaps by a dint of luck, the Madza bus in which they had been held hostage developed a fault but the policemen swiftly arranged and transferred them into another vehicle before dropping them off about two kilometers away along the Mabushi Expressway within Abuja.
Though the pair regained their freedom without paying the N1million ransom, but they lost their newly acquired dream phones within a period of one hour in a “daylight robbery” allegedly perpetrated by cops later identified to be operatives of the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, an elite unit at the Force Headquarters of the Nigeria Police whose pioneer head is Mr. Abba Kyari, a suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, currently facing trial on drug-related charges.
Moments after what appeared like a return from hell, Gabriel and Onugwe headed to the police divisional headquarters on Nile Street Maitama, and lodged a complaint.
A prompt action by police operatives at the Maitama Division led to the recovery of the Madza bus with vehicle registration number ABJ 799 BE in which the victims were held hostage.
Sources hinted Scudnews that a search conducted on the vehicle led to the recovery of a police Warrant Card, IRT jackets, Case Files, $70, 200 fake US Dollar notes, a voter’s card and sundry items belonging to IRT operatives attached to the Police Force Headquarters.
It was further learnt that a day after the recovery of the items, two operatives of the IRT attached to the Force Headquarters identified as Inspector Cydric Tuoyo with AP No. 279572 and Inspector Adebayo Ayenda –AP No. 279583 who were allegedly linked to the crime, were arrested.
A manhunt has been launched for the arrest of other fleeing members of the syndicate and recovery of the two iPhones, according to impeccable sources.
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