20170422

How I Organised Soboma George’s Murder, Kidnapped VC In Rivers State – Suspect

Seven years after the arrest of some suspects in connection with the murder of Soboma George, a Niger Delta militant and a popular figure within MEND, the police have arrested a suspect, 42-year-old Anthony Pepple, who made startling revelations about the murder.

Before his murder, the name Soboma was one that instilled both fear and respect among militants in the Niger Delta.

Pepple, a native of Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State who claimed to have been a safety officer with Nigeria Agip Company and Health and Environment Supervisor with Saipem at some point, was nabbed over the 2015 kidnap of the embattled former Vice Chancellor of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Prof. Rosemund Green-Osahogulu.

But investigation later connected him to Soboma’s murder, which he explained that he planned as a result of his uncle’s murder and a N60m, which the militants swindled his ‘boys’ over.

During the arrest of the suspects accused of killing Soboma in 2010, they had alleged that they killed him because they could not carry out his order to assassinate the then Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, but Pepple said that was just a confession he coached them to tell the police.

Pepple claimed that he had got to a position at Saipem which offered him opportunity to travel widely for trainings before he decided to resign his job.

He said, “With all the experience and training, I left the company and decided to work with my uncle, Wilson Alison, who was the treasurer of the Ijaw National Congress at the time. My uncle needed someone he could trust.

“In 2010, my uncle wanted to divorce his wife because he discovered that she was too fetish. He told me that he learnt she slept with his friend in the US. He then filed for a divorce and that started a problem between them.

“I was told she paid N10m to Soboma to eliminate my uncle. Shortly after, my uncle was killed on Orazi Road around GRA Port Harcourt. Four men on two motorcycles killed him with AK47 rifles.

“I was not in town at the time but when I got back, I went to the police to take the corpse to the mortuary. After that, I embarked on my own investigation and learnt that he was killed by Soboma’s boys after my uncle’s wife paid N10m.

“I confronted her about it but she got angry and called me a cultist and militant. She reported me to the police and the military joint task force who started searching for me.”

Pepple said he also learnt that Soboma’s boys were looking for him and he decided to go underground.”

People claimed that few months after he went underground, two of his friends, whom he identified as Ayi and Blackee, did a job for a governor, who decided to pay them N60m. But they said they did not want to keep the money in their accounts and were looking for an account where it could be paid without it being traced.

He said the men mentioned Soboma’s name as one of their acquaintances, who had the personality to keep such money in his account.

Pepple said, “I told them that I did not trust Soboma because he was the one who killed my uncle. Because he was their friend, they did not heed my advice. The money was eventually paid into Soboma’s account.

“When it was time for them to collect their money, Soboma refused to give it to them. He ordered them out of his house. They came to me crying that he had betrayed them and asked what they could do. I told them I already had a score to settle with Soboma and suggested that we should kill him.”

Pepple said they contacted a spiritualist who made the militant weak and easy for them to trap and kill.

According to him, the spiritualist did many rituals because Soboma was very powerful and he had some forces guarding him.

He explained that at the right time, the spiritualist gave them the go-ahead.

Punch reports that Soboma was later gunned down along with his girlfriend on a Saturday after a football game he participated in.

Pepple said he was watching Soboma close to the football field and giving orders by phone to Ayi and Blackee on the right time to move in on the victim.

“Ayi was the first person who came out with a gun and when Soboma saw him he wanted to run and they opened fire on him and killed him on the spot with his girlfriend. The four men guarding him fled when the shooting started. I took a motorcycle and left the scene. Ayi and Blackee did not put on masks so, everybody saw their faces.

“I had told them that if they were arrested over the death of Soboma, they should tell the police that Soboma paid them N60m to kill Governor Rotimi Amaechi, then maybe they might be released because of that. Shortly after that, my uncle’s wife died.”

After the killing, Ayi and Blackee were reportedly arrested in Ondo State. But Pepple said he fled Nigeria and got a job offer with an oil company in Abu Dhabi.

He said he returned to Nigeria in December 2014 with the money he had saved and intended to go into oil bunkering.

According to him, he met a man he identified by the alias “Full Payment” who told him to help keep four AK47 rifles. He would later team up with another acquaintance he called Dokubo to use the weapons for kidnapping

“Dokubo suggested that we should go for ‘fishing’, which means kidnapping people driving flashy cars and forcing them to pay ransom.

One of their victims between 2014 and 2015 was Prof. Green-Osahogulu. Now he's been nabbed.