BY EMMA AMAIZE
WARRI — KELVIN (surname withheld), the most wanted kidnap/robbery kingpin in Delta State, who hails from Kokori community in Ethiope East Local Government Area has gone into hiding following the manhunt for him by the army and police over the wave of killing of security agents in the state.
Police declared the suspect, said to possess a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering and a former aide to a top politician in the state, wanted last year, after series of kidnap and armed robbery operations, within and outside the state, were traced to him, but he remained hard to pin down.
Delta State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, who confirmed Kelvin as the most notorious kidnapper in the state, in an interview with Vanguard, last year, expressed optimism then that he would be arrested shortly.
But the kidnap kingpin shocked security operatives when he pulled a daring mission in Warri, last month, killing a number of prisons officials, as his gang ambushed warders and snatched two of its men being taken to court for trial.
However, Kelvin, whose gang had allegedly killed many soldiers and police officers in the past, became a principal target when his gang purportedly killed some soldiers, recently. Military authorities have not confirmed the report.
Soldiers laid siege to Kokori and other communities in Ethiope East Local Government Area in search of Kelvin in the past few weeks.
Commissioner Aduba told Vanguard in the aforesaid interview that motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders in Kokori were on the payroll of Kelvin, as they tip him off whenever security agents enter the town to look for him.
Apparently confirming Aduba’s claim, the state government, as part of security measures to stem the high level of criminality in Ethiope East, placed a ban on the use of motorcycles in the area, two days ago.
Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovouzuorie Macaulay, who briefed reporters, Wednesday, after the State Security Council meeting at Government House Annex, Warri, said the ban was with immediate effect in Kokori.
The government, however, gave a seven-day grace, after which the ban would be extend to the other towns and villages in Ethiope East.
Comrade Macaulay stated that the high level of crime in the area had taken a dangerous dimension, and the ban was one of the measures meant to stem the tide.
Investigations by Vanguard showed that Kelvin is feared in Kokori and his tribesmen could not dare to report him to security agents because of the fear that he would find out the informant and kill the person thereafter.
“The thing is that there was no concrete evidence in some of the criminal activities he had been arrested for in the past and he found his way out, but by the time he grew into kidnap/armed robbery baron, he has graduated and it is very difficult to get him,” a security source told Vanguard.
“They are looking for him but I do not think they have his photograph, so how will they find him when people are afraid to point at him. He could even pass them as they are looking for him. For instance, he is known to be staying in a hotel in Effurun and Lagos before this time, but some of these hotels do not keep manifest of lodgers,” he said.
Vanguard also gathered that sometime, two months ago, at a meeting of the Ughelli monarch, HRM, Oharisi III, security agents and Kokori chiefs and leaders, the chairman of Delta state vigilance group, Mr. Monday Ohwosiri , alleged that Kelvin and his gang killed a soldier at Ekiugbo junction, December, last year.
He predicted that Kokori community would not know peace until the people surrender Kelvin to security agents. Kokori chiefs, who had earlier feigned ignorance of the criminal escapades of their son promised to consult elders of the community and act promptly.