Andrew Ogbeche, a former worker of the slain former Commissioner for Youths and Sports in Edo State, Mr Egbe Ediagbonya, has owned up on the role he played in the kidnap of his boss.
Ogbeche, who worked as a labourer on Ediagbonya’s palm tree farm at Utese village, Okada area of the state, explained that he got N100,000 out of the N1m ransom paid for the victim’s release.
The ex-commissioner was reportedly kidnapped on May 16 and his decomposing body found 19 days after at a bush close to his farm.
Following his murder, men of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team launched a manhunt for the perpetrators, leading to Ogbeche’s arrest early July.
It was learnt that Ogbeche conspired with one Paul and other accomplices at large to perpetrate the crime.
Police investigation revealed that the kidnappers had on May 3, sent a threat message to the deceased, announcing their intention to abduct him and daring him to involve security agencies.
They made good their threat 13 days after when they ambushed him on his farm and demanded a ransom. After collecting N1m, they were said to have informed his family to pick up his corpse at a location.
“The kidnappers used the deceased’s mobile to demand a ransom and collected N1m. They later sent a text message to the family, asking them to pick his corpse somewhere. It took the family few days to locate the corpse in the bush.
“Through intelligence-led investigation, Andrew Ogbeche, was arrested. He is the deceased’s former worker on his palm tree farm at Utese. The phone he used in sending threat messages to the deceased was recovered from him. Investigation is ongoing to arrest other suspects involved in the kidnapping and murder,” a police source said.
Thirty-five-year-old Ogbeche, who hails from Bewarre village in the Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State, told City Round during the week that he was aware of his ex-boss’ kidnap but did not know about his murder.
He stated that after the news of Ediagbonya’s death broke in the community, he tried to reach Paul on the phone to no avail.
Andrew said, “Since I graduated from university, I have been having financial constraints. I used to work with the commissioner as a labourer on his palm tree farm and he paid me N10,000 per month.
“I used to clear the bush and help to pluck palm fruits. I worked with him for two months but he paid me only for one month. He promised to pay me later. While I was working for him, I had no plan to kidnap him. It was my friend, Paul, who visited me on the farm that brought the idea of kidnapping him.
“He told me my boss had a lot of money. I warned him not to try it. He kept visiting and threatened to kill me if I expose his secret. While he was visiting me on the farm, Paul had told my boss that he wanted to work with him. He became close to him and he trusted him.”
Ogbeche, who claimed to be the only child of his mother, said he consented to the crime for fear of throwing his mum into mourning.
He added, “The day they kidnapped the man, Paul told me and I was scared. He gave me N100,000 but that time, I never knew they had killed him. It was later I saw one of my friends who told me that my boss is dead. I was devastated. I felt bad and I regret collecting the money.”