A four-man gang of kidnappers, which was arrested for its alleged involvement in the abduction of a female police sergeant at Omu-Ijebu, a border town between Lagos and Ogun states, has disclosed that it collected N200,000 as ransom from the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Ketu Division before their victims were freed.
Some gunmen had in February abducted the policewoman, simply identified as Sergeant Bola, attached to Ketu Police Station, while on her way to the office. The suspects were identified as Tola Samuel, 26; Aboy Fekun, 23; and Mimo Blessing, 20. They were arrested on Sunday by a combined squad of anti-kidnapping team and mobile policemen of the Lagos State command, led by Akinade Olajobi, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), while escaping with their share of the ransom collected.
Four automatic rifles, one locally-made gun, N400,000, three speedboats, several cutlasses, and mobile phones allegedly collected from victims were recovered from the suspects.
The suspect, who also admitted being involved in the kidnap of a lawyer in his farm at Igbodun, in Epe area of Lagos, said they collected the N5 million as ransom from the lawyer’s family.
One of the suspects, Aboy, said he was actually recruited into the gang three months ago by its leader, simply identified as Tallest, from their hometown in Ese-Odo area of Arogbo Ijaw, Ondo State.
He said: “I knew him from our village in Ondo. It was Tallest, who invited me to Lagos. I arrived in January and two members of the gang picked me up. They took me in a boat to their camp at Molajoye, in Epe. My first operation was the one involving a female sergeant.
“On that fateful day, we came out from the creek in two speedboats. We laid ambush at the Molajoye Bridge. While we were waiting, we saw a vehicle carrying five persons. We pounced on them immediately they got to the bridge. We took all the occupants of the vehicles into our boats. They were three women and two men. We headed to our camp. We kept them for five days. It was while we were at the camp that we discovered that a female policewoman was among them.
“We separated her from the others. We later called the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ketu that we had abducted one of his policemen. We demanded N5 million as ransom from the DPO. We also contacted the family of the policewoman and also demanded same fee from them. But the DPO said he would not be able to pay N5 million. At the end, we collected N200,000 from him and collected additional N300,000 from the woman’s family.”
Continuing, he said after they released the policewoman, they stormed a farm at Igbodun where the gang kidnapped a lawyer who had gone to tend to his beds in his poultry. His immediate release, according to him, was triggered by the protest march some farmers in Epe embarked on to government house at Alausa.
“We also took the lawyer to our camp. Initially, we demanded N20 million from his family but at the end, we settled for N5 million. His family paid the agreed sum. Tallest gave me N400,000 as my own share. It was the money the police found on me on the day we were arrested.”
The suspect added that other members of the gang fled as soon as news of their arrest got to them. According to him, they were arrested at Epe while on their way to Ijebu, Ogun State.
However, Samuel, who claimed to be innocent, said he was only contracted by Aboy and Mimo to take them to Ijebu, a statement that was corroborated by Aboy. Aboy said: “We contracted him to take us to Ijebu. We had scheduled to go to Ijebu last Saturday, but he declined insisting that it was too late; we agreed that he should pick us up around 4:30a.m. on Sunday. As agreed, he arrived on time and we were already on our way when some policemen accosted us. They discovered the money and some phones inside the bag I was carrying,” he added.
The Lagos State police boss, Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the suspects yesterday at the Command Headquarters, Ikeja, said the gang was responsible for the series of kidnap cases in Epe and Ikorodu area of the state.
He said effort was currently ongoing to arrest other fleeing members of the gang. Meanwhile, the police have arrested a former operative of the State Security Service, who was dismissed from the service over his alleged robbery of a bureau de change operator. Abdulrasheed Maigari, 35, was arrested in Abuja by police anti-kidnap squad in a surveillance operation conducted between March 26 and 28.
Maigari, a native of Taraba State, was arrested alongside 10 other suspected criminals for allegedly kidnapping Issa Salami, a former General Manager of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria.
The other suspects as identified in a statement released by police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, are: Kelvin Emeka, 28, from Owgu Local Council in Enugu State; Ndubusi Prince Ozor, 31, from Nsukwato LGocal Council in Abia State; Sunday Travnor, 33, from Ovi Local Council in Nasarawa State and Zayor Alfred 23, from Obi ocal Council of Nasarawa State.
The remaining suspects are: Avah Joseph, 25, from Ogbadibo Local Council in Benue State; Gabriel Friday, 33, from Ogbadibo Local Council Benue State; Rajab Baba Ishiaka, 22, from Wukari LGA Taraba State; Ali Sani, 27, from Takum Local Council Taraba State; Nuhu Sule, 20, from Takum Local Council Taraba State and Mohammed Abubakar, 21, Mokwa Local Council of Niger State.
Source : the Guardian