A young, energetic man suspected to be a kidnapper, who has been in prison custody, yesterday refused to board the prison van along with other suspects but preferred to ride in a private car.
The suspect, Martin Ugwuagbo, who allegedly defrauded one Uche Ugwuja of N180, 000 from the Nsukka Prison was reported to have rejected a prison van made available for him and the three other suspects to appear at Igboetiti Magistrate Court of Enugu State.
It was gathered that Ugwuagbo who had earlier declined to enter the prison van, known as Black Maria, appeared alone in a private vehicle driven by a prison official 30 minutes after the other three arrived in a prison van.
Ugwuagbo is standing trial alongside Awele Ogbonna, Fabian Ezugwu and Ozor Uwakwe in an alleged kidnap of one Mrs. Precious Agbo at Ekwegbe in Igboetiti LGA of the state.
It was also gathered that when Ugwuagbo eventually appeared in a Toyota car with registration number DJ 363 ENU at the court premises, he caused a stir, as people looked aghast and wondered how prison officials should accord someone in prison custody such respect.
According to information gathered the suspect appeared in court last month with police escorts.
When our correspondent enquired from one of the prison officials who pleaded anonymity, he said that they obliged his request of coming to court in a private car because he refused to enter the van provided for him and the three others suspects.
“When it was time for us to starting coming to court, we asked the four of them to enter the prison van but while the three entered Ugwuagbo refused and said the vehicle was too old and rickety that he would not enter. Everything we did all fell on deaf ears and that is why he came in this Toyota car made available by another official of the prison.
It was learnt that the suspect is feared and highly respected by both inmates and officials at Nsukka Prison due to his flamboyant lifestyle in the prison.
Investigation further revealed that Ugwuagbo occasionally fuel prison vehicles that convenes prisoners to courts and also renders financial assistance to his fellow inmates as well as buy drinks for warders.
“Ugwuagbo is a boss to most of the inmates because he gives money to inmates freely and also gives monetary inducement to warders since they are always at his beck and call. In fact he is like a king in Nsukka Prison as he does whatever pleases him,” the source added.
The source further stated, “Ugwuagbo is untouchable, as most warders treat him with respect. Because they believed he has a lucrative job before he was involved in a kidnap case and his salary is still running.
It was also learnt that Ugwuagbo told the prison authorities that he has a job where he has been receiving his salary since he was detained.
When contacted on why the kidnap suspect is allowed to assist in the running of the prison, Mr. Lawrence Okonkwo, the controller of Nsukka Prison said the suspect is only playing a fatherly role to his fellow inmates.
“I have not had any problem with the young man. This young man we are talking about goes as far as playing the role of a father by helping his fellow inmates. He doesn’t give problem to prison authorities instead he assist in fuelling our vehicles so that inmates are convened to courts.
“When I asked him why he chose to assist his other prisoners, he simply told me he has a job before he arrived here and that he still receives his salary from his employer on regular basis,” he said.
However further investigations revealed that Ugwuagbo before his arrest in January 2010 worked as a driver at the education department of Igboetiti Local Government Area.
An insider in the council area said , “There is every likelihood that the government may have stopped Ugwuagbo from receiving salaries because a verification exercise was carried out in January and as you rightly stated, Ugwuagbo has been away from his duty post since January 2010,” he said.
Another source stated that if actually Ugwuagbo is still receiving his salary since he was incarcerated in 2010, then it must be with the consent of the council chairman.
“Why I may not give you a concrete answer if Ugwuagbo still gets his salary or not, you should know that in ‘Nigeria under special arrangement devil can see God,” the source said.

READ ALSO  FG denies outbreak of meningitis in Abuja