BY EVELYN USMAN AND UJU MBANUSI
LAGOS — The Lagos State Police Command, yesterday, said it had smashed a kidnap syndicate which recently relocated to Lagos from the eastern part of the country and arrested six suspected members of the gang.
Also, the command said investigation into the kidnap and subsequent release of the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area Chairman, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, showed that some of his abductors had fled to Ghana.
According to the command, the suspects confessed during interrogation to have one of their hideouts somewhere around Ibeju-Lekki, where they have successfully kidnapped four persons.
The Lagos State Police Command boss, Mr Umar Manko, who briefed newsmen on the circumstances that led to the suspects’ arrest, said an AK -SZ riffle with registration number 6090 was recovered when their Ikorodu hideout was searched.
Manko disclosed that the suspected kidnappers were arrested by operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, when they wanted to abduct a victim.
One of them whose identity he gave as Solomon Eze, popularly known as Pastor, was arrested in the densely populated Ajegunle area of Lagos on a tip off., adding that his confessional statement led to the arrest of five others, Ikechukwu Chedom, Sunday James, Obinna Egbugha, Christian Ezinkwo and Emmanuel Iloakazi, in Surulere area of Lagos, where other ammunition were recovered.
We were after exotic car owners—Suspect
The suspects told journalists at the command headquarters where they were paraded that their targets were owners of exotic cars.
According to one of them, Sunday James: “This gang was formed January this year after one of us, Victor Emmanuel, rented an apartment in Ibeju-Lekki where we would be keeping our victims.
But operations started proper in February. Since we started, we have kidnapped four persons.
The first person we kidnapped fetched us N1 million. Victor, owner of the apartment where the victim was kept got, N200,000 while the rest of us shared the balance of N800,000, of which I got N100,000.
“The second victim fetched us N1.8 million. We bought a Sport Utility Vehicle with which to convey our victims for N1.5 million and shared the balance of N300,000. Of that amount, I got N75,000.”
On how they usually abduct their victims, James said: “Whenever we are driving on the road and see any exotic car, we would intercept and order its owner to get down and force him into our vehicle.
“We usually abandon our targets vehicles because we do not need them. We decided to leave their vehicles because some of them have car trackers that could easily give us out.”
On whether his gang was responsible for the kidnap of the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area boss, Mr Kehinde Bamgbetan, he said: “Since we started, we have not kidnapped any influential person or politician.”
The suspects, according to the command boss, would be charged to court, adding that effort was still on to get Bamigbetan’s kidnappers.
Bamigbetan’s abductors relocate to Ghana
Investigations, according to him, showed that some of Bamigbetan’s abductors had relocated to Ghana, adding that one of them passed on recently at an undisclosed hospital, after he jumped from a three-storey hotel building when operatives of SARS stormed the place.
The deceased identified simply as Soldier, was reportedly in the company of his girlfriend, when he took the fatal jump.
But Manko did not state whether he was a military man or not. He simply stated that investigation was still ongoing.
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