From Councillor To Kidnapper – Ebonyi Governor’s Brother-In-Law Meets Waterloo

The Ebonyi State first family have suddenly found themselves in the eye of the storm following the arrest of Governor Dave Umahi’s brother-in-law among five other kidnapping suspects.

The governor and his family, sources say, are battling to distance themselves from Chukwu Bethrand, whose alleged criminal actions may rub off on the image and political profile of Governor Umahi.

Bethrand’s alleged involvement with a kidnapping syndicate arrested by operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command was said to have come as a rude shock to the first family and the people of Ebonyi State.

The suspect is the younger brother of Ebonyi State First Lady, Mrs. Rachael Umahi, and he was said to have blamed his sister and the governor for allegedly abandoning him.

THE WHISTLER gathered that Bethrand is a former local government councillor in Ebonyi and was said to have leveraged Governor Umahi’s influence to attain the position.

The suspect was a one term councillor with an ineffectual tenure as no one in his constituency remembers his contribution to the community. He is simply known as Governor Umahi’s brother-in- law.

This is the qualification he has used to mask his alleged criminal enterprise, which has now come into the open after the police burst a kidnap syndicate of which he is alleged to be a member.

Maryam Yusuf, spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, confirmed arrest of the kidnapping syndicate to THE WHISTLER on Wednesday.

Yusuf told our correspondent that 27-year-old Bethrand and his gang members were arrested on Saturday along Apo axis in the FCT.

She identified the order suspects as Frank Ozor (26), Nweke Uche (19), Chester Uzor (25), Chukwu Samuel (25) and Kelechi Ngene (26).

“The suspects who had earlier abducted three persons were arrested by eagle-eyed Police Operatives on routine patrol while attempting to relocate one of their victims. Further investigation led to the successful rescue of two other victims who identified the suspects,” read a statement the police spokesperson forwarded to our correspondent’s WhatsApp.

Bethrand and Ngene had allegedly gone to receive ransom from a relative of their victim when the police accosted and arrested them.

THE WHISTLER reached out to Ebonyi State’s Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, for comment, but the commissioner described our correspondent’s request as “not journalistic”.

Orji lamented bitterly that the media was more concerned about personal issues than developments in Ebonyi.

“What has the issue of criminality got to do with (being) an in law of the governor?” the commissioner queried, adding that, “You’re calling to ask about somebody who committed a crime in your community being your brother…can you answer it?”

When pressured to confirm or deny Bethrand’s relationship with the first family, Orji said: “I’m telling you this is not journalistic; therefore, I would be too foolish to reply you.”

The commissioner added that, “Are you telling me that in your community nobody has committed a crime? If anybody has committed a crime then will it be right or morally sound for anybody to now call your name to it?

“Ask me about the development in Ebonyi State, ask me about the character of our governor, ask me about the human capital development, ask me about how it was and how it is today…and I will gladly answer you,” he said.