Thursday, June 6, 2019 4:30 pm
There is insecurity in the land. Kidnappers and bandits are on the prowl. There is an exercise of stereotyping going on, making people to attribute kidnappings to a section of the country, a situation that may impede the efforts of government at all levels to do enough intelligence gathering and carry out wholesale operations that can put the desperadoes at bay. In other words, while it cannot be denied that the Fulani in the North are, on countless occasions, responsible, Nigerians will be making a huge mistake by believing that the Fulani are the only culprits.
That is why Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said: “Since the Federal and State governments have failed to address the crisis of insecurity, some highly placed individuals have given the impression that Fulani herders alone are responsible for the rising wave of kidnapping in the south west region. The rumour has continued to spread due to the failure of the state governments in the south west region to assure the people of the security of their lives. However, our investigation has revealed that the kidnappers terrorizing the people of the south west zone are drawn from the Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo and some other ethnic groups in Nigeria.”
The investigation has also, according to him, confirmed the involvement of a number of unpatriotic security personnel in the nefarious criminal enterprise. Similarly, some ungodly Pastors and Imams, as he added, have been nabbed for praying for the success of kidnapping and armed robbery operations. Falana argued further that many freed victims had exposed the involvement of French speaking kidnappers from neighbouring countries. Indeed, not a few criminally minded people have faked abductions of family members or kidnapped innocent children in a desperate bid to dupe their parents.
“While we do not deny the involvement of armed Fulani herders in violent crimes”, Falana maintained, “we have established that some of the most notorious kidnappers including the notorious billionaire kidnapper and his accomplices who were collecting ransom in Dollars, Pounds and Euros until they met their waterloo in Lagos state last year are not of the Fulani extraction.
He lamented that for the past 20 years, members of the political class have failed to comply with Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution which stipulates that the “welfare and security of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”. Based on the frustration and disenchantment caused by illiteracy and unemployment, many young people have joined gangs of insurgents, bandits, armed robbers and kidnappers. In the first quarter of 2019, not less than 1,071 people were killed in 212 major armed robberies and other brutal killings while 685 people were kidnapped. Ransom worth billions of Naira was paid by family members of victims of abductions.
Convinced that the identification of hardened criminals on the basis of their ethnicity and religion is completely diversionary, Falana argued that it is high time that all men and women of goodwill mounted pressure on the federal and state governments to secure the life of every person visiting or living in Nigeria. Since kidnapping, armed robbery and murder are state offences we call on all state governments to direct the attorneys-general to prosecute the very many kidnap suspects that are arrested by the police and other security agencies from time to time.
Furthermore, he added that the people deserve to be briefed regularly by the Chief Executive of each state on the measures being put in place to provide security and welfare for the people. He said: “Before the establishment of state police the members of the Nigeria Police Council (i.e the President, Inspector-General of Police, Chairman of the Police Service Commission and 36 state governors) should meet regularly to administer, organise and supervise the Nigeria Police Force in line with the provision of the Constitution.
“Recently, the Minister of Finance announced that whistle blowing policy of the federal government has led to the recovery of N605 billion. On its own part the Economic and Financial Commission has recovered over N1 trillion. We urge the federal government to ensure that the bulk of the recovered lot is spent on security and job creation.
To prove the thesis above, below are the kidnappers that have been arrested, detained and paraded by the police and other security agencies in the south west zone from 2015-2019:
The Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, said the police had arrested 2,175 suspects for armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and banditry since the launch of the “Operation Puff Adder”. A statement by the Force spokesman, Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, on Wednesday, 5 June 2019 in Abuja, said Adamu disclosed this when a delegation of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Nasarawa State Chapter, paid him a visit. Adamu said that between April 5 when the operation was launched, 63 kidnap victims were rescued unhurt by the police operatives.
He said that within this period under review, 834 arms including two – rocket launchers 19,009 live ammunition were recovered. The police boss said Oyo State recorded the highest number of recovery with 9,500 live ammunition.
While it is true that many of the desperadoes are from the North, other culprits are also from many other parts of the country.
Now this! A total of 6000 AK47 Live ammunition have been recovered by the police in a joint operation that smashed a 4-man international arms-smuggling syndicate importing weapons from North Africa through Saki in Oyo State, The Punch reported. According to Police spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, on 4 June, 2019 officers attached to the Intelligence Response Unit (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS), Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit and the Special Forces attached to Operation Puff Adder dismantled the 4-man gang on May 25, 2019.
He revealed that the criminal gang was operating between parts of North Africa, the Sahel region and West African Countries. Mba identified members of the syndicate as Ojoomo Olugbenga, 45, a native of Akure Central, Ondo State; Oladimeji Adeogun, 50, a native of Ido LGA of Oyo State; Habib Musibau, 24, a native of Oluyole LGA of Oyo State and 54-year-old Thomas Olumuyiwa, a native of Ado-Odo Ota LGA of Ogun State.
“They were arrested at Saki town, Nigeria-Benin Republic border in Oyo State. Investigation reveals that the syndicate specializes in smuggling small arms, light weapons and ammunition from North Africa through the Sahel region and supplying same to their criminal partners – kidnappers, armed robbers, political thugs and other criminal elements – in Nigeria and other West African countries,” Mba said. According to Mba, another set of 24 AK47 rifles, four pump action guns, 11 Dane guns, 10 English Pistols, two single barrel guns, one set of army camouflage uniform and 22 live cartridges were recovered from other criminal gangs in different parts of the country.
The Ondo State Police Command, on 10 April this year, paraded five suspected kidnappers who were members of gangs terrorising the Akunnu Akoko area of the state. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Undie Adie, while addressing journalists during the parade of the suspects, said the men were members of the gang that abducted one Prince Omoghae Igbegbon on 2 April 2019, on Akunnu-Akoko/Auga-Akoko road. According to the state police boss, the suspects allegedly disposed their victim of the sum of N185,000 before demanding N30 million ransom for his release.
The commissioner, according to Thisday, said the spirited efforts of men of the command led to the tracking of the suspects to their hideout in Ibilo, in the state. The suspects are Abdullahi Sanni, 33, from Kogi State; Mohammed Abdullahi, 36, from Sokoto State; Umoru Usman, 25, from Kebbi State; Sheu Usman, 25, from Niger State and Ismaila Wakili.
On 29 April, 2019 two brothers were nabbed by men of the Ondo State Police Command for their alleged involvement in kidnappings in the state. The two brothers, Abdulmumini Muhammadu 40, and his younger brother, Saidu 30, from Nassarawa State, whose arrests were made possible with the combined efforts of the vigilante group within the axis, were said to have been terrorising motorists along Auga/Ise-Akoko in Akoko North East Local Government area of the state. It was gathered that the kidnappers, who are into cattle business, had last year kidnapped one of their victims, Yemi Ilesanmi, before he was rescued by the police after demanding N30 million ransom from him. Admitting to have committed the crime, Abdulmumini, who, as Daily Post reported, was paraded at the headquarters of the Nigeria Police in Akure, the Ondo state capital, confessed that the operation was his third while it happened to be the first for his younger brother.
Moreover, The police in Ondo State, on 29 April, paraded 17 suspected criminals who included two suspected members of a gang of armed robbers said to have attacked passengers along the Lagos-Ore expressway. Daily Trust wrote that the gang, the police alleged, attempted to kidnap some of the passengers but were thwarted by the arrival of policemen from the Igbotako Division, Okitipupa, Ondo State. The robbers, it was learnt, had blocked the expressway that fateful day at about 7.50am, forced the passengers out of their vehicles at gunpoint and robbed them of valuable goods and cash. Their operation was said to have lasted for almost an hour.
“One of the suspects, identified as Ibrahim Usman, 19, from Bagudu, Kebbi State, told the police he belonged to a deadly gang of armed robbers and kidnappers headed by one Abdulahi. Usman mentioned two other fellow gang members as Umoru Mohamed and one Ibrahim from Kwara State. The Ondo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Undie Adie, explained that the arrested 17 suspects committed various crimes in the state. Two other suspects, Tunde Akinwumi, 20, and Tunde Akinboyewa, 25, were nabbed for raping a teenager simply identified as Joy, 18, and a minor, both of whom were rescued from them by a good Samaritan. Adie said another gang of armed robbers invaded the granite site of Crunberg Construction Company Nigeria Limited at Omifon village, via Ore, and overpowered the two night guards there before vandalising the company’s equipment.
“ The police chief said his men arrested two suspected members of the gang, identified as Abubakar Ibrahim, 24, of Omifon village and Mohammed Bello, 25, from Kwara State at Sweet Mother Street, Ore. He said the two men had confessed to the crime. Other suspects paraded included Sola Tosin, Lamidi Lucky and Ojo Are, who were said to have been arrested while attempting to dispossess one Shaibu Success of his motorcycle, registration number KAA 045 VS in Owo. Items allegedly recovered from them were one locally made single- barrel gun, three GSM phones, one packet of cigarettes and other dangerous weapons. Adie said the police had intensified efforts to apprehend the other suspects still at large, while the arrested ones would be charged to court at the conclusion of police investigation.”
Sixteen herdsmen who were suspected of kidnapping officials of the West African Examinations Council in Kishi area of Oyo State, were, on 22 March 2018, arrested by the state police command, The Punch reported. The suspects, who were nabbed by the police who worked with local vigilante, were allegedly recruited from Zamfara State by a kingpin who is also from Zamfara. He is still being wanted by the police after he escaped arrest, it was gathered.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Abiodun Odude, said the gang kidnapped many people and killed some of them, with huge ransom collected before they released some of their victims.
The commissioner said, “A deadly dare devil murderous itinerant armed robbery and kidnap gang had been terrorising the peaceful town of Kishi, Igboho and Igbeti in Oyo State, killing innocent victims after dispossessing them of their valuables. “The hoodlums, numbering about 25, who are mainly herdsmen, were recruited by one Kire, a notorious armed robbery kingpin from Zmfara State.
“They hide their victims in their seemingly impregnable fortress at the Old Oyo National Park for some days before freeing them after collecting huge ransom from their distraught and helpless family members.
“Working with local vigilante in the area, the police, after receiving a report about the gang’s activities, busted the gang and three suspected members arrested.
“They are Mohammed Kote, 25; Mohammad Legi, 26; and Kire Babuga, 20.
“They were arrested in their criminal hideout along Kishi/Igboho road and inside the Old Oyo National Park, Igbeti.”
The commissioner said the operation, which lasted 10 days, led to the arrest of 16 members of the gang in all, while more are being hunted.
The Nigeria Police, Oyo State command paraded a soldier and his accomplices who specialize in abducting and raping their victims. The suspects were among forty-nine suspects paraded at the Command Headquarters, Eleyele Ibadan on 24 May, 2018
According to the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abiodun Odude, the suspect Olaide Azeez and his accomplices, clad in military uniform, harassed and took their victims to pre-planned locations before raping and dispossessing them of their valuables. The suspect, Azeez, admitted to newsmen that he videotaped their victim while taking turn to rape her.
The police also paraded a notorious kidnap kingpin who was recently granted bail in the state.
According to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, the kidnap kingpin had masterminded the kidnap of high profile personalities in the state including Senator Iyabo Anisulowo and other victims between 2015 and 2017.
The list is still long! The police in Oyo State, on 28 May last year, paraded a 28-year old Naval officer, Jimoh Adesoye, and 14 others arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad for robbery kidnapping and other crimes. According to a report by Vanguard newspaper, two of the suspects are twin brothers. Speaking with journalist at Police Headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan, the Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude, said the Naval officer was arrested with 12 members of his gang who had been on the wanted list of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos.
“Six of the suspects were arrested in their criminal hideout at Ilasa area, Ogbomoso. This led to the arrest of other members of the gang at various locations,” he said
“The lance corporal often used his position and uniform to transport vehicles snatched by the gang and helped dispose of the stolen vehicles,” he said.
‘’The gang, which is also on the wanted list of SARS in Lagos and Kwara states, was responsible for the spate of armed robbery and car snatching along the Ogbomoso-Ilorin Expressway, Oyo State, Lagos, Kwara and other states in the South-West.’
”Six of the suspects were initially arrested at their hideout in the Ilasa area of Ogbomoso by SARS unit, Ogbomoso, following credible intelligence by the command’s strategic partners,” he added. The alleged members of the gang, according to the police, are Lateef Isa, 25; Taiwo Yekini, 23; Kehinde Yekini, 23; Tunji Ismail, 23; Adeyemo Babajide 23; Saka Jamiu, 20; Akin Akingbade 35; Mudashiru Abdullahi, 29; Rasheed Adeniran, 26; Lukman Jimoh, 35; Dauda Lamidi, 24; and Waheed Ganiyu, 30. Among exhibits recovered from the gang were one pump-action rifle, seven live cartridges, four cars, motorcycles and stolen home appliances.
On 26 September 2017, Ekiti state police command paraded five members of a suspected kidnap gang in the state. The suspects had abducted Mrs. Popoola on September 14 when, according to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdulahi Chafe, they had “invaded the residence of Mr. Popoola at Araromi Quarters and forcefully kidnapped his wife (Florence).” The five suspects namely: Sunday Adeoye, 30; Dare Adesi, 26; Seun Ogunlayi, 25; Damilola Bamigboye 27 and Tope Ojo, 32, Chafe said, had confessed to the crime. The police revealed that cash sum of N323,000 being part of the ransom collected from the victim’s family were recovered. Mrs Popoola lamented that she was forcefully taken to a forest, where she was starved, after she was forcefully taken from her home, on her return from a church programme.
The Nigerian Police, on 7 January 2017, at the Police Headquarters in Abuja, paraded a gang of six kidnappers that were allegedly responsibly for several high profile kidnappings in Kaduna and other States across the country. Force Public Relations Officer, Don Awunah, according to icirnigeria,org, said the arrest of the suspects was a result of the efforts of the force under Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, “who had ordered that no criminal enterprise flourishes in the country undetected.” Awunah narrated how the “vicious and very notorious kidnap gang” was arrested by men of the IGP Intelligence Response Team, IRT, on January 1, 2017 after sustained surveillance. The paraded suspects are Dominic Nwakpa aka Alhaji, Ifeanyi Chukwu, Balat Paul, Ibrahim Samuel aka IB, Jatau Peter, Clinton Abere and Afini Paul – younger sister to the driver of the gang and also owner of the house where kidnapped victims are kept.
The Force spokesman narrated that “the gang was smashed with the arrest of Dominic Nwakpa, A.K.A ALHAJI, who is the gang leader, in Lagos state, while four other principal suspects and members of the gang, namely Balat Paul, driver of the gang, Ibrahim Samuel aka “IB” and Jatau Peter – a dismissed policeman, were arrested on the 1st January, 2017 in their hideouts at Dan Hassan Road Ungwa Boro Kaduna.”
He added that Afini Paul “a female member who cooks for the gang and the victims, rented the house at Yusuf Patrick close, Mararaba Rido, Kaduna where victims are kept before ransom money is collected, was arrested at their hideout in Kaduna.
“Ifeanyi Chukwu the 2nd in command of the gang was arrested in a Hotel at the Ogbor Hill area of (Aba) Abia State,” and he confessed to be among the gang that “kidnapped a former Minister of State for foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse on the 20th November, 2016 in GRA, Kaduna and collected ransom before he was released,” Awunah stated.
Chukwu also confessed to having participated in many other kidnappings within and outside Kaduna, Abia, Imo, Rivers, and Delta States.
The Force PRO also stated: “The same gang confessed to the kidnap of Dr. Abdulmalik Durunguwa and his wife in their residence at different intervals in Kaduna. Ransom was also collected by the gang from the family of the victims before they were released.
“A Member of Kaduna State House of Assembly Hon. Ibrahim Samaila was also kidnapped by the gang on 26 August 2016 at Abakpa area of Kaduna State and an undisclosed ransom money was collected by the gang before his release,” he added.
Awunah said that the last suspect Clinton Abere was trailed and arrested in a Hotel in Lagos on 6 January 2017 after he tried to escape by jumping out of the window of his hotel room on sighting policemen. In a related development, the Force PRO told journalists that two other suspects were arrested for “criminal conspiracy, armed robbery, kidnapping, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.” They are: Maisamari Dan Katsina and Bulus Jatau, a Dismissed Police man.
Nigerians cannot forget Chukwudi Dumeme Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans, a native of Nnewi, Anambra State notoriously referred to as “The Billionaire Kidnapper” because the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) believe he is one the richest criminals in the kidnapping business in Nigeria.
The Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria police force also described him as a very smart, crafty, and intelligent kidnapper having evaded arrest for four years even though he was on a most wanted list in three states (Lagos State, Edo State, and Anambra State).
Evans was arrested in Lagos during the weekend of 10–11 June 2017 and his case is still in court.
On 7 March 2017, the Oyo state Police command paraded three Fulani men and two other suspects for allegedly kidnapping a 52-year old business woman in Ibadan. While parading the suspects, the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Abiodun Odude, gave the names of the suspected kidnappers as Taoreed Ibrahim, 35; Wilfred Manger,32; Moshood Adams, 26; Umar Amadu, 31; and gang leader, Adekunle Folorunsho Aderopo, 31. While parading the suspects alongside 19 other armed robbery suspects and burglars, the CP said, “In the few days that we have been here, we have been able to record very formidable achievements. The first achievement we have been able to make was the case of a woman, who was kidnapped. Her car with other documents were taken away by the kidnappers.
“We have arrested five of the kidnappers and we are still working and very soon, we will get the remaining members of the gang, who had the rifles and other weapons that were used in that operation. It is a welcome feat for us.” He added that two of the suspects, Aderopo and Wilfred Manger were ex-convicts.”
He said Folorunso Aderopo, 31, was released from Agodi prison in August last year after serving a jail-term, while Wilfred Manger, 32, was also released from the same prison. He said, “The suspects trailed their victim from her office in Ojoo area of Ibadan to her house in Akobo and kidnapped her around 10pm as she was about to enter her house on February 25, 2017. She was robbed of her valuables before being driven away in her Toyota Highlander with number plate LND 954 EE. All through the journey, she was blindfolded to prevent her from knowing where they were until they entered a forest.
“She was taken to Ogere forest where she was subjected to all manner of emotional and psychological torture. She was kept in the forest for two days and prevented from contacting her family. But through diligent investigation in collaboration with Lagos State Police Command, some suspects were arrested at Alausa in Ikeja, Lagos with the victim’s car on February 28, 2017.”
Nemesis also caught up with a 37-year-old woman who allegedly arranged her kidnap in order to mop up money from her husband to travel to the United States of America. According to National Daily, Bukola Ogun, on 18 July 2017 confessed to the crime before the Oyo state Police Command. Two other kidnap accomplices who helped perfect the crime: Kayode Adepoju ,37, and Olalekan Annanfi ,34, were also arrested in their hideout at Imalefalafia area of Ibadan by the police. National Daily learnt that Ogun explained that she conceived the idea to force her husband to submit to her request to help her travel to the United States of America. Mrs Ogun was paraded by the police with 12 others at Eleyele, Oyo state Police Command on Monday.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Abiodun Odude explained that men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the state Police Command arrested the woman who masterminded her own kidnap along with two others. CP Odude explained: “The incident happened about 7.45 pm on July 4, 2017 when three armed hoodlums stormed the residence of the supposed victim and ‘kidnapped’ her to an unknown destination. “Barely four hours later, the suspects contacted victims’ husband and demanded N10m ransom as a condition for his wife’s release.
“Unknown to him that the kidnap was actually arranged by his wife, the hapless husband reported the case to the police. Following the report, operatives of the Special Ant-Robbery Squad began a man-hunt for the hoodlums.
“During intensive investigation, two male suspects were arrested, who let the cat out of the bag as operatives were stunned to discover that the victim was the architect of the phantom kidnap.
To pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, the woman lodged in a hotel at Imalefalafia area of Ibadan for three days while frantic efforts were being made to rescue her,” he reiterated.
Regretting her role and intention, Mrs Ogun said she returned home on her volition after spending three days in the hotel room.
“Anyway, I got home myself on Saturday. It’s like my husband called everybody that I was kidnapped. I walked home myself”, she stated.
The state Commissioner of Police who also paraded nine other criminal suspects listed items recovered to include four arms, 23 live ammunition , two vehicles, inverters , iron cutters , cables, and cutlass . Abayomi Gbenga (24), leader of armed robbery gang who specialized in robbing telecommunication masts at Tede, Sepeteri, Igboho, and Ogboro in Saki area of Oyo state were arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in their hideouts. Other armed robbery suspects are Ayilara Ahmed (24), Bamimore Nurudeen (32), Adedokun Opeyemi(19), and Bakare Farouk (19) . The suspects who confessed to have carried out different armed robbery operations in the state were found with one locally made pistol, forty eight inverters, a Peugeot 505 saloon car with registration number ET 246 APP , a long cutlass and three iron cutters.
The Oyo State Police Command on 1 June 2017 paraded a serving soldier and a police inspector for allegedly hijacking fuel-laden trucks on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 38 other suspects were also paraded for offences ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping and stealing to cultism. Addressing newsmen at the police headquarters in Eleyele, Ibadan, Mr Abiodun Odude, the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, said the suspected hijackers often wore camouflage and police uniforms to carry out their operations.
“The alleged hijackers of fuel-laden trucks usually wore military camouflage and police uniform in their operations.
“They were nabbed by the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad of Oyo State during one of their operations on April 15 at about 8.am after they waylaid a fuel-laden DAF tanker with registration number APC 937 XB on a bad portion at Shasha, near Ojoo, on Ibadan-Oyo Road.
“The suspected policeman would be recommended for dismissal from the Nigeria Police for professional misconduct,’’ he said.
Odude said both the soldier and the policeman confessed that they actually participated in the crime.
In another incident, a suspect allegedly conspired with others to abduct his own father. Odude said that the kidnapping of the suspect’s father took place at Igboora in Ibarapa Central Local Government Area on 17 May, 2017 at about 6pm.
“ The suspect said he got a share of less than N1 million in the ransom collected although he confessed that his father never offended him,’’ he said.
Similarly, six suspects said to be involved in the kidnapping of popular Ibadan-based oil magnate and Chief Executive Officer of Bovas Oil and Gas Limited were also paraded.
Items recovered from the suspects included firearms, nine vehicles, one motorcycle, N1.2 million, musical instruments, knife and phones.
Ogun State Police Command, on 2 September, 2016, paraded 23 suspects for various offences, ranging from armed robbery, kidnappings, illegal possession of arms to murder and cultism.
The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Illiyasu who, as The Guardian reported, paraded the suspects at the Command’s headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, said the suspects were arrested at different locations in the state, disclosing that over 21 assorted guns, including three AK 47 rifles were recovered from them.
One the suspects was Richard Abraham, a member of a notorious gang of robbers/kidnappers alleged to have been terrorising residents of Oyo, Lagos and Ogun states. Iliyasu said the operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Squad (FSARS) received intelligence on the hideout of the notorious gang on Monday, August 22 and they went after them.
“On sighting the operatives, the suspected armed robbers opened fire on them (police) while the operatives also returned fire for fire, by the time the dust settled one of the robbers, Abraham, was arrested while other members of the gang escaped”, Illiyasu explained. Also paraded for armed robbery were Adewale Ajeigbe and Ibrahim Kareem, who were suspected to be among the gang terrorising residents of Ogijo and Sagamu areas of the state. “The FSARS was said to have stormed their hideout at Igbo Olomu area in Ikorodu and the suspects were said to have equally opened fire on them. Adeigbe was said to have been wounded in the gun duel and he was arrested with AK 47 rifle. He later led the police to one of their hideouts in Lagos garage, Ijebu Ode, where their kingpin, Kareem was arrested,” The Guardian wrote.
The report has it further: “Meanwhile, the effort of the new security outfit launched recently by Governor Yahaya Bello tagged Operation Total Freedom has started showing positive results as the vigilante and local hunters of Igbagun Community in Yagba East Local Government of the state have arrested a suspected ritualist, Nifemi Oyibo along with 11 other members of his gang.
The police also arrested four suspected kidnappers of some residents of Iseri, Lagos State.
The suspects – James Kegbe (a.k.a JJ), ThankGod Segede, Trust Bourdilon, and Natei Okunna, their gang leader – were nabbed at different locations in the state where, according to The Guardian, they had gone to spend their share of the ransom paid for the release of the residents.
Also on 15 June 2016, Lagos Police Command arrested a notorious kidnapping kingpin. The suspect who was identified as Felix Silver and was arrested along the creeks of Majidun, was, as Daily Trust reported, involved in the kidnap of three female students of Babington Macaulay Seminary School, Ikorodu. The 38-year-old suspect is said to be the brain behind the kidnap of the three girls and a Chinese expatriate who was abducted from the GMC Construction Company, Ikorodu. In his confessional statement, the suspect said they got the sum of N5.4 million as ransom for the release of the girls.
Moreover, the Police in Oyo State, on 5 April, 2016, said it had taken into custody armed robbers, kidnappers, India hemp smokers and fake currency traffickers numbering over 47 and recovered 20 arms and ammunition as well as stolen cars in various parts of the state. The Police Commissioner in the state, Samuel Adegbuyi, told newsmen that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, rounded up two suspects identified as Femi and Segun in their hideout printing fake Naira notes. Adegbuyi said the Anty-Robbery Squad operatives recovered 655 fake pieces of N1000 notes and 35 pieces of N500 denomination, a photocopy machine and printing papers. A member of the group, Femi, told reporters that he was called into the illicit business a few years ago by a friend who is now late.
The CP further disclosed that the SARS operatives had raided the hideout of criminals who are ex-convicts and involved in serial armed robbery operations in the state. He said, “The gang specializes in snatching motor cycles from their owners at gun point. The notorious armed robbery suspects were rounded up in their hideout. “They are Segun, Yusuf, Dauda, Kamorudeen, Umaru, Muhammed, Balarabe, Jimoh, Moses and Garuba. They recovered two locally made pistols, 10 live cartridges, one expended cartridges and six unmarked Bajaj motorcycles. Adegbuyi said the patrol team of Sanyo Division apprehended four suspects with arms on their way to kidnap a victim at Jericho, Ibadan, and another suspect who supplies arms and ammunition to the gang. He continued, “The four suspects are Ogiemudia, Yakubu, Sunday and Paul.”
He added: “SARS operative rounded up a six-man gang that specialized in stealing good-laden containers at the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos, and perfecting fake waybills to transport the stolen goods to buyers.
“Members of the gang were arrested at the toll-gate area of the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway while transporting the stolen container with caterpillars spare parts worth over N25million.
“The suspects are Hammed, Raji, Olatoye, Oladimeji, Olawepo and Raimi. SARS also arrested suspects who snatched motorbikes from owners at gunpoint.
“They were arrested at Bowen University Teaching Hospital area, Ogbomoso while attempting to dispose of three Bajaj boxers motorcycles with REG NO FFE601QD, FSU286GB and AKM138WM. The suspects are Kabiru, and Abdullahi.”
The police in Oyo State, on 6 April 2016, paraded Olayinka Taiwo (20), who allegedly kidnapped his three-year-old niece, Omolade Abdulsalam and demanded N200,000 from her parents. Commissioner of Police, Leye Oyebade, according to The Nation, said Abdulsalam was kidnapped on March 30 at her residence at Adegbayi, Egbeda, Ibadan. He said: “Few hours later, the abductors called her parents to demand for N200,000 as a condition for her release. A report was made to the police and the victim was rescued in Adegbayi Alakia.
“Security operatives stormed the criminal hideout where one of the suspects, Olayinka Taiwo, was arrested and the victim rescued unhurt at 1:30pm on March 31. “The suspect confessed to the crime and narrated how he and other members of the gang currently at large planned and carried out the evil act,” he said.
Confirming that the suspect is her brother, the victim’s mother, Kemi Abdulsalam, said she received a call that her daughter has been kidnapped. “I was searching for my daughter all day before I was called by someone in the evening who said my husband owes him some money. I reported at the village head’s house and was told to report at the police station,” she said Taiwo, who studies Insurance at the Polytechnic of Ibadan, said:” I kidnapped my niece because my sister’s husband does not give me money anytime I come back from school.
“I reported to my friend and he was the one who planned it. At first, I was reluctant to be part of the plan but he threatened me and that was why I gave him my sister’s number.”
The Nigerian Police Force foiled the attempted kidnap of a Nigerian oil magnate, Femi Otedola. In a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Donald Awunah, on Wednesday, said the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT), accomplished this task when it arrested a three-man notorious kidnap gang on June 23, 2016. According to him, the arrest was achieved through coordinated intelligence gathering and deployment of technical investigative tools, that spanned several weeks. The Principal suspect, named Ikechukwu Daniel, a 28 year old indigene of Imo State, who is the mastermind of the gang, was rusticated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, due to his cult related activities on campus between 2009 and 2010. Awunah confirmed that he also doubles as the I.T guru of the kidnap gang, with mastery of Computer applications, as he made damning revelations of their criminal exploits in the south west of the country.
Another member of the gang, 29 year old Adeyemi Kayode, is a serving officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and a native of Ojoo in Ibadan, Oyo State. He serves as a Personal Assistant to the Commandant, NSCDC Oyo State Command, a position which the Police say he took undue advantage of, to obtain the GSM number and location of their ‘would-be’ victim. According to the force, he hatched the plan on how to kidnap the business magnate to make a demand of one billion Naira ransom.
The third suspect, Ayodele Temitayo, a native of Oyo in Ibadan, Oyo State who is the marksman and armourer of the gang, claimed to have been dismissed from 213 Battalion Maiduguri of Nigeria Army, as a Private in 2015.
The police, on 17 March, 2015, in Lagos arrested about eight people in connection with alleged kidnapping, armed robbery and illegal deals in sophisticated weapons in the country. Large quantity of arms and ammunition were, according to The Independent, also recovered from the suspects who were arrested by the operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad of (SARS). They were paraded at the headquarters of Lagos State Police Command by the Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti.
Those arrested were identified as Andrew Moukwue, 50; Christopher Edwin, 42; Peter Onyeale, 37; Okpara Reginald, 30; Edet Ekuno, 32; Sunday Samiga, 24; Hope Edet Okon, 27, and Unagbon Isaiah, 31. Aderanti explained that on January 18, 2015, based on follow up of an earlier case, Moukwue was arrested in Onitsha, Anambra State.
He said that upon interrogation, he confessed to have sold over 200 Ak47 rifles smuggled from Mali to several criminals and militants in Anambra, Rivers, Bayelsa, Abia, Enugu and Lagos States.
“The suspect, according to him, led SARS operatives back to Onitsha where Edwin was also arrested and three Ak47 rifles (AB256591, VL420219 and AX6217) were recovered.
He further led SARS team to Rivers State where Onyeale and Reginald were arrested and four English pistols, two Berretta pistols (148847 and 682304) and two Brownie pistols (42649 and 1137366) were recovered.”
The war against kidnapping waged by the Ayodele Fayose government in Ekiti State in conjunction with security agencies resulted in the arrest of two kidnap suspects on 26 May 2015. The wife of the head of the kidnapping syndicate was also arrested. All three were undergoing interrogation. The governor said Olumide (31) and Folorunsho both from Esure-Ekiti were arrested between Ikere and Iju while trying to escape. According to him, the wife of the leader of the kidnappers, Austin, who was believed to be preparing food and taking care of the victims, was also arrested.
Eight suspects arrested for allegedly kidnapping a business man, Chief Adebowale Omotoso, were, on 20 May 2015, arraigned in a magistrate’s court in Awe, the town in Oyo where the kidnapping took place on March 11. The suspects, seven men and a woman, were charged with conspiracy, robbery and kidnapping. Chief Omotoso, who is the Chairman, Bond Chemicals Ltd, Awe, was kidnapped in his home. He was later rescued at Ajia Village by a team of policemen attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Oyo Area Command.
That is why A Political Scientist and former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, University of Ibadan, Professor Adigun Agbaje submitted in an interview with TheNEWS that “The point is that we have to learn to use our brains. We have to learn from history. We have to learn from experiences. You have oasis of peace in the midst of devastation or conflicts. So you have small pockets of peace. Those pockets are bound to disappear unless you begin to expand the spaces for peace and to address the whole issue of insecurity and conflict. Peace is indivisible in time and in space. Jos was peaceful until 2001. I remember having a workshop there in January 2001 and all of us, from all over the country were saying wow Jos is peaceful. Look at it. The Northern elites were bringing their families to Jos to settle down. Then a few months later, Jos exploded. So peace is indivisible across time and also across space. If you can’t guarantee peace in a substantive manner all over the place, then those oases are also bound to become subsumed under violence and insecurity. You are surrounded by conflict, insecurity, you will be safe and secured for a while before the kidnappers and bandits find ways to breach your security.”
The lesson therefore, according to Agbaje, is that the leaders in the South West have to redouble efforts and continue to secure the little security that the West has. He added: “Also, work or encourage innovative thinking at the national level and also with regards to the states that surround the South West but basically at the national level to ensure that we understand the civic elements of all of these. This is not about religion, poverty, ethnicity, power elites and international connections. It is a mix of all of these. In the process of mixing, there is transformation of each of those contributing factors and so we have to get a sense of the specific reality of Nigeria and the specific reality of different parts of Nigeria so that we don’t say that a size fits all.”