Vampire’s escape: Fear grips Imo residents – Okorocha promises N5m reward …As Security agencies trade blames
Security agencies are trading blames over the escape of one of the most dreaded criminals in the country, Chibueze Henry a.k.a Vampire, at the premises of an Owerri High Court, Imo State, Friday January, 27.
Prisons authorities under whose care the alleged serial killer and kidnapper was before the commando-like operation by his gang members believe that their men on ground were overwhelmed by the number of the attackers and did not get assistance from the police and other security men at the court premises.
But the police, according to sources, simply see the development as the headache of the Prisons under whose care the suspect was at the time of the attack.
The Department of State Services, DSS, on its part, is convinced that it has done its best by arresting the celebrated criminal and subsequently, handed him over to the relevant authorities for prosecution.
They see the escape as a failure by those that brought him to court. This came as the Comptroller General, CG, of the Nigeria Prison Service, Mr. Ahmed Ja’afaru, arrived Owerri, last week, with a high powered team of investigators to probe the escape of the dreaded serial killer and kidnapper.
However, sources from Force Headquarters, Abuja said police authorities were rattled by the development and have directed all the relevant units to swing into action with a view to fishing out the notorious criminal and members of his gang from where ever they are.
Already, Vanguard learned that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, has directed all the heads of the units in charge of kidnapping, robbery and other vices to proceed to the eastern part of the country and comb all nooks and crannies in search of the fleeing criminals.
Imo State Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha has promised N5million to any person who could give information on the whereabouts of the escapee criminal. The governor who disclosed this after an emergency security meeting in the state said the disappearance of Vampire poses a lot of security threat to the people.
Meanwhile, Imo residents, especially those with “kidnap value” are now living in fear following the escape of the merciless kidnapper and armed robber who wastes no time in killing his victims, ransome or no ransome.
It should be recalled that on Friday, January 28, gunmen stormed the Owerri High Court in a commando style, sent people scampering for safety with sounds of sophisticated weapons and rescued a notorious kidnapping kingpin, Henry Chibueze, (alias Vampire) and two others, including Vampire’s native doctor who was standing trial with him.
In the ensuing melee, about five prison officials who led the suspects to the court and inmates received gun shot wounds and were rushed to the hospital.
The suspect who was arrested by the Department of Security Services (DSS) in mid 2015 after about five years of unsuccessful manhunt has been remanded in prison custody since the case was charged to court.
According to an eye witness, the gunmen laid siege on the court premises waiting for the arrival of their target and as soon as the vehicle arrived, the suspects alighted and were about to be led to the court room by some prison officials, they struck, shooting sporadically in the court premises.
“The gunmen came into the court premises posing like DSS operatives that came to give evidence in the trial of Vampire until the prison officials arrived with the suspects and they opened fire on the unsuspecting security men. It took us by surprise and funny enough, they escaped in a Pathfinder jeep.
“How they could have beaten all the checkpoints on either Orlu, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Umuahia and other roads to escape is not only a surprise but scandalous. We have to mount another manhunt for him. We suspect he would want to run outside the country”, a security source said.
Vampire (28) had confessed to being involved in several kidnappings in various parts of the country and abroad-Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire, and other west African countries.
Fielding questions from reporters, when he was apprehended Vampire disclosed that he had collected N110 million from one of his victims in Rivers State and thereafter killed him.
Shedding more light on his nefarious activities, Vampire who always look unruffled even while in prison custody also admitted to have abducted an official of the Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission, ENTRACO (name withheld) equally collected N50 million, even as he similarly murdered the victim.
Furthermore, the seemingly unrepentant Vampire said that he murdered his girlfriend and some members of her family, for allegedly stealing the sum of N45 million belonging to him.
“On February 16, 2013, Vampire stormed the home of his girlfriend, Sandra Ijedinma, at Igando area of Lagos State, with an AK47 assault rifle and opened fire on everyone present in the apartment, killing his girlfriend, her elder sister, Praise Ozor and her two children.
Not satisfied, Henry proceeded to a nearby street where one of Sandra’s elder sisters resided and killed the woman and three of her children, before fleeing.
But while the search for him went cold in Lagos, Henry, was said to have regrouped with his gang in Imo State and they coordinated several kidnappings in the South East and South South, where he kidnapped over 200 persons, killing most of his victims, including the wife of a royal father in Imo State and an official of the Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission which yielded him N50million ransom.
However, luck ran out on him, when he attempted to kidnap the tribunal Judges, handling Election Petition in Imo State, at their lodge, in Disney Hotels, along Onitsha -Owerri Road in 2015. Operatives of the Department of State Security, DSS, acting On a tip-off swooped on him, but he managed to escape with bullet wounds which he had gone to treat in Ohafia, Abia State, where men of the secret police eventually apprehended him.