Mr Njoku Michael, a trader who turned kidnapper, has described how he was tricked into committing the crime over the past Christmas and New Year’s break by his friend, a Fulani herdsman.

He claimed that his buyer was the Fulani herdsman who tricked him into doing the crime.

Njoku told reporters this story while being paraded in Abakaliki by Joshua Akandu, the spokesman for the Ebonyi State Police Command.

The Ebonyi State Police Command paraded him with sixteen other people.

The suspect clarified that on December 13, 2023, the herdsman brought his cattle to his shop, and he was impressed by how many animals he had.

Njoku claimed that after asking the herder for an N50,000 loan, the man told him he had a job for him in Afikpo, Ebonyi State, rather than handing him the money.

He stated that he was thrilled to be able to work for four days and earn up to N40,000, adding that he was frantic to collect money to stock his shop for the festivities. He claimed that all he had to do was put manure in bags, “and if I worked hard, I would earn N30,000 or N40,000 in four days.”

Njoku asserted that he participated in the kidnapping because the herders would have killed him otherwise.

He stated that they most likely included him in the operation to demonstrate that Igbos, and not simply Fulani herdsmen, are responsible for kidnappings in the southeast.

Njoku claimed that two of the herder’s brothers joined him after being led into a dense forest. However, the herder abandoned them and reappeared carrying a rifle and a piece of cloth.

“When I asked him what we were going to do with a gun, he asked me: ‘I think you said you were looking for money? This is the time we are going to look for the money,’” he said.

Additionally, he acknowledged that during the Yuletide celebration, a group of four people, under the leadership of a Fulani herdsman, abducted some returnees from the United States.

“We were four persons who carried out the kidnap, but it was only two of us who were captured by the police, and we don’t know where the others are.”

Njoku revealed that they were paid N40 million in dollars and naira for the crime, but he denied that the group killed any of its victims, claiming that a woman who died while being held captive died out of fear.

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