Why I prefer kidnapping to bank robbery —Evans
WHO is Evans?
My name is Chukwudime Onwuamadike, but I am popularly known as Evans. I am known as George Iwuonba in Magodo, Frank in Ajao Estate. But in Ghana and South Africa, I was known as Evans. I am from Umudimu, Nnewi, Anambra State. I was born on April 29, 1981. I stopped schooling at JSS2.
How did you get into the crime world?
After dropping out of school, I served a master for five years, learning motor spare parts trading. When master could not give me money to start, I left Anambra State for Lagos. That was where I met the person who introduced me to drug business at Alafia Bus Stop, Orile area. I can’t remember the year I started.
I took drugs to so many countries including South Africa, Holland, Guinea, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other African countries.
How much were you paid on each trip as a drug courier?
It depends. I got paid in dollars; between $1500 and $2500.
What method did you adopt in trafficking drugs?
It depended on where I was going. If it was a long-distance journey, I would swallow the drugs, but it was within Africa, I would put them in bag that would serve as my hand luggage.
Do you have those that your syndicate liaised with at the Nigerian airports to give you easy passage?
If I had to go, we had to settle. We call it ‘Ekwaga’ which means pushing your way through.
For how long were you into drug pushing before going into robbery and kidnapping.
I saved money from the drugs business and started importing motor and machine spare parts. But Customs seized my goods, though it was my agent’s fault. I started looking for how to manage my life. I knew some guys in Ladipo then who were into robbery. It was one Kingsley who introduced me to kidnapping. He is in Brazil now.
We learnt that you were part of a robbery at two banks in Oyo town, Oyo State, and that the CCTV recording showed your face.
That was not me. I know what I did and did not do. I know people who specialised in that then. I don’t know those places in Yorubaland. I don’t carry guns because I don’t like guns. I don’t like shedding blood. But I can drive very well. All the times we were working, I used to drive.
But you had guns which were recovered from you.
You won’t hear that I killed anyone.
How were you getting your guns?
I was getting them from Republic of Benin, though I was not the one buying them directly. They were sold for between N200,000 and N500,000. I collected the guns from Uche. It was not that I paid because he was my man. He is late now.
How did you get the gunshot injuries in the left side of your stomach and your right shoulders?
It was when Emeka and IK who were quarrelling over money and materials like guns and vehicles they were using for their robbery operations. I was called in to make peace, unknown to me that IK had a sinister plan. He shot so many of us but I ran away. I don’t know how many that died or survived. IK is dead now. He was killed by a gang member called MD.
Did your wife know you were into kidnapping?
No, she did not know. She only knew I was into drug business. If she had known, she would have left the children for me.
When and how did you leave armed robbery for kidnapping?
In 2013 when I saw that I was not making enough money from robbery. I was working with one Ehis from Edo State. After some time, I decided to be on my own.
How I was shot the first time
I was shot in the arm in South Africa. I went to deliver drug to someone and he collected it and shot me. I was then taken to the hospital in Cape Town. I was operated in a hospital. However, in South Africa, they don’t report gunshot wounds to the police. They just treat it normally unlike in Nigeria; so that was how I was treated without any police problem. Even the police tried locating the person who shot me, but couldn’t till I returned to Nigeria.
How I got shot the second time
They had some issue about the sharing of money; it was the money they made from robbery. I did not follow them. I just intervened when they were sharing the loot. That was in 2008. They went to a filling station in the night. So IK, one of the gang members, called me to come and take part of the money. However, when the sharing became a problem among the gang members, IK began shooting everybody, and that was how I was hit in the stomach. After being shot, I ran out of the place. After the shot, I went to the hospital to go and remove the bullet. I didn’t know that the person I met was an informant of the police. In the hospital, I was given drip for three days, and when I came out, I went to Ajeromi hospital, where I spent three weeks. It was then that somebody said I should go traditional in the treatment of the wound, that native doctors can remove it once they put certain items. I didn’t know the person was an informant of the police, and that was how I was arrested. I was the only person arrested.
After my arrest
After the police investigation, I was sent to Owerri, Imo State, where someone said he knew me when I snatched his car. However, my mother and one Tina came to bail me at the station. I don’t know who even came to sign my bail bond. I was in the cell in Eagle Squad, Owerri, and did not know what was going on but my mother and Tina were the ones who handled everything. However, my mother came with someone to the police station. She is a police officer, and she is from my hometown. That was in 2008.
Have you ever robbed in the South-West apart from Lagos?
I don’t operate in Yoruba land apart from Lagos. I don’t know the terrain in Yoruba land. I have only robbed in Edo, Abia and Lagos states. I never robbed in Anambra State also because that is my state. I have never operated in Anambra, not even once.
Is it true that your wife used to collect ransom on your behalf?
My wife does not collect ransom on my behalf; it is not true. She did not even know what I was into until I was arrested.
You have been into crime for years, but were you not planning to stop?
I don’t know what to say about that. I knew I would stop one day. I knew God’s time is the best.
How did you get to know about Donatus, one of your victims? The man spoke that it was one Emeka who gave you the information.
Emeka was not working with us. It was another person who knew him well that gave us the information about him. The person was not working with him.
Is it true that some people in FESTAC were using you to settle drug business that went wrong?
There was something like that. I know so many of them.
Do you have properties in FESTAC?
I don’t have any property in FESTAC. I only have the two Magodo properties in Lagos, and then another two in Accra. However, the properties in Accra are not in my name. These are just the properties I have. However, some people have been saying I have houses all over the world. Some said I have house in South Africa, but I don’t.
What connections do you have in South Africa?
I have connections in South Africa; they are the people I do drug business with.
With all you have made from crime, do you see yourself as a billionaire?
I am not a billionaire.
What you have made have run into billions…
It is not possible. I collected only $1 million from just two people, and that time, dollar was just N140. All the money I collected is not up to N1 billion. I was the one who collected the money, so I will know better.
What of the bullion vans you robbed?
There was not much money in the bullion vans. In fact, one had just gone to collect money from an eatery, so there was not much money inside.
Why did you rob the bullion van when you knew the money inside was not much?
I didn’t make money in robbery. It was only in kidnapping that I made money. In fact, if you look at the properties I have, you will realise it was during the time I was fully into kidnapping that I acquired them, so I didn’t make money in robbery and drug trafficking.
You said you don’t kidnap in Anambra, but when the police were looking for you, sometimes you were tracked to Anambra in the course of your activities?
Sometimes, I went to Anambra to collect the ransom. That was to make myself safe from the police.
Did your victims know you?
No; it was when I was arrested that they know me. They didn’t know who I was.
Have you ever made the mistake of kidnapping someone who didn’t have money?
No, because we did background work on the victims. However, the problem I am having now is that all of them are now saying they paid $1 million each. It is not true. Only two people paid $1 million, and they are Ucheson and Udoji. I don’t need to lie anymore. I am carrying my cross now.
You wife’s family has a very big house; are you the one who built it for them?
It is not me. They have a son in Bamako, Mali, and he is very rich.
How much do you have in your bank accounts?
I don’t have money in my bank accounts. I may have like N20,000 in some, but the kind of money you are expecting to hear are not in the accounts.
So where do you keep your money?
It was not only me who took all the money. I had people working for me and I gave them their shares.
How do you want to advice Nigerians in order to protect themselves from being kidnapped?
There is no way a wealthy person can avoid being kidnapped, except people do not know him.
How can government stop kidnapping, drug trafficking and robbery in the country?
The government is trying its best. Government should have more undercover agents.
Do you have a domiciliary account?
I have, but I don’t have money in it. It is only somebody who is a fool that would take such huge amount I collect to the bank. Instead of keeping the money in bank or somewhere else, I used it to buy houses. I have told the police how much I bought the houses. I have told them how much I spent in building the one in Ghana.
But have you killed any of your victims?
I don’t kill; all my victims are alive. I didn’t even torture any of them.
Even during bank robberies, don’t you know policemen are the number one targets, so you want to say you have not killed anyone?
I don’t handle guns. I only drive the vehicles we use for operations.
Do you have connection with militant kidnappers?
I don’t have any connection with Niger Delta militant kidnappers.
Do you know Chyna and Vampire, two militant kidnappers?
I have never worked with them. I just got to know them when the police killed them.
But you still continued with kidnapping when you knew the police had killed those two notorious kidnappers?
I really don’t know. I had such feelings as well that my time would come, but I was working towards stopping crime entirely. I was even praying towards it.
Is there more money in drug than kidnapping?
There is more money in drug.
But why did you concentrate on kidnapping, while leaving drug business?
I didn’t leave drug business. I was doing both together.
Is it true you have cancer, because you wife said you have cancer?
Yes, and I suspect it was when the drug I ingested burst in my stomach.
Where did that happen?
I was going to Holland then, but I used Guyana passport. The country is in South America. That was a long time ago. However. I took it from Suriname to Holland. It was just one kilogramme. I was taking it for sale in Holland. However, I took some medications. It was a little leakage. I suspect that was how I got colon cancer. It is still in stage one, but I have not been taking my drugs.
Before your arrest, were you suspecting police were almost closing in on you?
Yes, because most of my gang members were being arrested one after the other.
Why were you using different names?
I knew the police were after me, so having different names made it easy for me to operate in different places, so the police won’t know it was the same person they were looking for.
Why is Evans different from the other names?
I have been answering Evans since my secondary school days. I don’t have English name, so I just gave myself Evans.
How were you able to avoid arrest for such a long time?
I was just very careful.
How were you finally arrested, because some online media have been saying you were arrested at the airport?
I was arrested in my house.
Is it true that you killed your lover who you suspected to be a police informant?
That is not true. Chiezugo (that is her name) is still alive, I did not kill her. I started avoiding her when I knew that police wanted to get me through her. We met in Anambra through someone. At a time, I heard that the police arrested her because of me so I started being careful. I guessed she was being used to trap me. She is in Abuja now.
We learnt you had a juju man somewhere. What form of protection were you using to avoid arrest or to protect yourself during your operations?
I don’t have any juju man. I used to pray to God and ask for His forgiveness. I know that