By Asuluka Iheagwaram
One of the first rate hotels in Owerri, Imo State capital, may soon experience the wrath of the state government bulldozers for allegedly harboring and becoming the operational base of a wanted notorious kidnapper, popularly known as Vampire.
The continued existence of the hospitality outfit on Onitsha road, outskirt of the Owerri town is in doubt if the government of Rochas Okorocha continues the implementation of the demolition penalty for any building or property where suspected kidnappers use for operation, as enshrined in the law against abduction and hostage-taking, recently amended by the last members of the Imo State House of Assembly.
It would be recalled that several property including that of Eze Cosmas Onyeneke of Lagwa Community, Mbasie, was destroyed at Enyiogugu in Aboh LGA when some suspected kidnappers were apprehended at the abandoned factory building on Owerri-Umuahia road. Apart from buildings of suspected kidnappers going down, a new petrol service station belonging to an Italian based businessman from Umuaka, Njaba LGA who has not visited home for years, was also demolished on Owerri Orlu road, in Orodo, for being a kidnappers den.
Should Imo State government go ahead with the policy of destroying places where kidnappers are found, it would amount to a test of might and strength on the part of Okorocha who is fully aware of the arrest and role of the hotel, to order for the demolition of the property owned by one of his Ideato South kinsmen and co-APC apex leader.
In a scene similar to Nollywood movies, the hotel with a three-star touch witnessed theatre of a mini war front as staccato of gunshots rented the air when security operatives stormed the place to fish out the wanted criminal named Vampire.
Trumpeta learnt that a combined team of security operatives made up of men of the Department of State Security Services, DSS, and Soldiers had stormed the hotel in the night after obtaining intelligent report that the most wanted kidnapper had been operating from the hotel with his fleet of cars packed in the premises.
Reports have it that on storming the hotel, the security operatives sought for the cooperation of the workers to enable them have a hitch free operation . In the process of arresting the Vampire, said to be a die-hard serial killer who engages in high profile kidnap cases where huge sums of monies are paid for ransome, they were accosted with a gun shot by a another guest, who it was however gathered may have opened fire in self defence. The guest was overpowered by the operatives who marched further to confront the wanted notorious Vampire, in his hotel room.
In rare display of his sheer bravery in gun handling, Vampire said to be from Nwangele LGA of Imo State already alerted by the earlier exchange of gun shots, opened fire on the security men to evade arrest.
Despite sustaining injuries, Vampire succeeded in escaping through the back door balcony before the operatives could have hold of him alive. However, a female friend who was to spend the night with him was caught up in the cross fire of gun battle that ensued. Though, the true identity of the young lady has not been established by this newspaper, but sources disclosed that when guns boomed ceaselessly, she ran into the toilet before she was arrested after sustaining severe injuries. Her condition after she was taken to a hospital for treatment cannot be ascertain as at the time of this report.
Determined to get him alive, the operatives expanded their dragnet in search of Vampire which paid off handsomely, when the once dreaded and invincible criminal believed to be a cat with nine lives was nabbed at Umuahia, Abia State, alongside his herbalist called “No Time”. Both Vampire, his herbalist and other suspects arrested in connection with the matter are at the moment cooling their heads in SSS detention cells in Owerri, while investigation to apprehend the prime suspect’s killer squad continues.
Trumpeta learnt that the state government is aware of the great breakthrough by security operatives and are working on the next line of action. Apart from the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere visiting the DSS office to have a firsthand report and view of the Vampire, Okorocha was said to have also called to know the position when he was outside the state.
the next action, Trumpeta learnt is for bulldozers from government to move in a make a mince-meat of the hotel for allegedly being an operational base of the foremost kidnap kingpin.