The end of the story of Henry Chibueze, popularly known as Vampire, a notorious kidnapper/armed robber that terrorised most parts of the country mainly South East zone, South-South and South-West including some neighboring West African countries, came as a relief to many.
Chibueze came into limelight when the state security services in Imo State arrested him at Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State around May, 2015 after escaping at Ohia village near Owerri, the Imo State capital with bullet wound.
The Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, invited the press for a briefing during that period. However, after the arrival of newsmen who thought that it was a usual press interaction with the governor, the governor in his usual manner, walked into the midst of the newsmen. He wasted no time in informing the journalists that one of the most wanted criminals by name ‘Vampire’ had been arrested by the SSS. He said that “all of us should be heading to the office of the agency which is directly opposite of the government house Owerri.”
On arrival at the scene, the man ‘Vampire’ along with other suspects that included two women sat on the floor of the premises of SSS.
Briefing journalists on the successful operation carried out by the SSS along with the director of SSS, the governor said that Chibueze escaped along Ohia axis in a hotel where he lodged after having a gun battle with them but sustained bullet wound. However, unknown to the men of the security services, he ran to Arochukwu in Abia State to meet his senior brother who resides at Arochukwu with his wife and children.
Apparently worried that Chibueze had escaped, Okorocha explained that while the DSS was making frantic efforts to trace his whereabouts, they got intelligence reports that the wanted man was at Arochukwu.
According to the governor, the security operatives after receiving the information they moved to Arochukwu in search of the suspect. However, with their intelligent information gathering they were able to trace him to his brother’s house there.
Unfortunately the elder brother was not around when the security men arrived. They met his wife and nurse whom they had contacted to treat him following the bullet wound that he sustained in Ohia.
Having successfully carried out their operation, he said, the security operatives took the suspects back to Owerri including the most wanted Chibueze.
After the briefing, Chibueze along with other suspects were arraigned in court in Owerri.
Unknown to the prison officials and the Owerri judiciary, Chibueze’s gang had concluded all the necessary arrangements to storm the court with the intent of releasing him from prison custody. Nigerian Tribune gathered that before Chibueze’s gang struck on that fateful Friday of January 27, 2017, they had carried out surveillance on the court environment on how they would carry out their mission successfully without hindrance or disruption.
On the day of the court hearing, the four-man gang, as gathered, had arrived the court earlier, waiting for the arrival of the Black Maria which was expected to carry their boss along with other suspects who were to appear in court that fateful day.
On seeing the Black Maria coming, the gang members had already taken positions with each of them already briefed on what to do as to ensure successful operation. Their plan was successful as they took Chibueze away unchallenged after shooting sporadically to scare people who came to court including judiciary workers, lawyers, judges and others.
Reports gathered indicate that one of the four suspects arrested in the recent operation in Omu Awa in Rivers State revealed that after they left the court premises, they want to Isiala Mbano LGA, Imo State where Chibueze stayed four days before he was taken to Aba, Abia State.
However, he further said that after Chibueze complained that Aba was not comfortable to stay, one of his friends from Ikwere LGA in Rivers was contacted who suggested that alternatively he would travel to Aba to pick him to ensure a smooth trip by road to his village at Omuawa.
He said that they had planned that they would go into the forest and stay there hoping that when the situation gradually died down they would have to move him to Cameroon as the news of his escape from Owerri judiciary spread like wildfire in Nigeria and other countries.
It will be recalled that the Imo State governor had announced that anybody with any useful piece of information leading to the arrest of Chibueze would be given N5 million.
Addressing newsmen during the parade of the gang after their capture and the eventual death of Chibueze, the Force Police Public Relations Officer (FPPRO), Abuja, Jimoh Moshood— a chief superintendent of police— explained that the police special force swooped on the hideout of Chibueze and his gang and engaged them in a fierce gun battle that lasted several hours till the early hours of Thursday, March 2, 2017, at Omu Awa forest, Ikwerre L.G.A of Rivers State.
“Report reaching us from the scene indicates that the operation which started by 1:00am on Thursday morning was successfully carried out as the dreaded vicious and kidnap-for-ransom and armed robbery kingpin, Henry Chibueze (aka Vampire) and his gang who were rescued by his criminal cohorts from the Owerri High Court premises on January 27, 2017 from the custody of officers of the Nigeria Prisons service, died during the shootout. Other suspects were arrested and exhibits recovered from them,” he said.
The police force PPRO revealed that Henry Chibueze was a cultist who later turned into a vicious and dangerous kidnapper/armed robber and had earlier confessed to the murder of his girlfriend, Sandra and eight members of her family, among them six children in Lagos State.
“He alleged that his girlfriend stole his N45 million share of a N110 million ransom paid by the family of one of his victims in Omoku, Rivers State. He is a serial killer who also confessed to have killed over 200 people in various kidnappings and armed robbery attacks. He claimed responsibility for the murder of the following persons: Placid Ejimadu (Nze Ji Obi), Jonathan Ibemere aka Gwuogwo and Livinus Iwumune, all natives of Agbaja Nwangele L.G.A, Imo State. The killing of an honourable member of the Imo State House of Assembly at Orji in 2015, the kidnap/murder of a traditional rulers’ wife from Mbaise in 2015 whose corpse has not been seen till date. The kidnap/murder of a man from Malaysia at First Bank branch in Owerri, the killing of 3 members of a family including a woman from Nkwerre in 2012 after collecting ransom from the family,” he stated.
Moshood listed suspects arrested along with Chibueze to include: Obinna Elah, male, 26 years old native of Orlu L.G.A, Imo State; Arinze Abecheta, male, 24 years old native of Okoia Isiala Mbano L.G.A Imo State; Chukwuemeka Ikeazota, male, 23 years old native of Ohohia Isiala Mbano L.G.A Imo State; Samuel Ugochukwu, male, 24 years old native of Arochukwu L.G.A Abia State; Clifford Aheana, male, of Omu Awa Ikwerre L.G.A Rivers State. He said that the living members of the Henry Chibueze’s gang had made useful statements to the police, confessing and admitting to have carried out four (4) successful kidnap operations after the rescue of their gang leader at the Owerri High Court premises.