Acting IG, Mohammed Abubakar
By Victor Efeizomor and Hammed Shittu
Neither the sanctity associated with clerics nor the “weaker vessel” tag on women could restrain some two young men, both children of pastors of an orthodox church, and a woman from joining the inglorious business of kidnapping. While the young men plied their illicit trade in Delta State, the woman carried out her operations in Offa, and other parts of Kwara State.
The lads, Elijah Umanu (20) and Jerry Ohanuba (22), are being detained at the Delta State Command of the State Security Service (SSS) headquarters in Asaba for their involvement in the kidnap of one Chibuchi Offia (10) on June 3, in Warri.
The suspects are sons of presiding pastors in two separate parishes of an orthodox church in the oil-rich city.
The suspects, who admitted taking part in the crime when they were paraded, said they did it because they knew the father of the victim is a wealthy man, who works with Chevron Oil Company and would be willing to pay the ransom to free his son.
Ohanuba confessed that he lured the unsuspecting victim on the fateful Sunday out of the church for his gang members to nab. Having kidnapped the boy, the gang demanded a ransom from Chibuchi’s father for his release.
Looking dazed, Ohanuba claimed it was his first time at kidnapping, adding that one of his friends, Buchi lured him into the criminal act.
“That was why I introduced other friends because there are other activities that we carry out during kidnap,” he said.
His partner, Elijah, who also regretted the action, said he got into the gang when he was invited to transport the victim to the kidnappers’ hideout, for a reward.
“I was called upon to transport the boy in a car, just to take him from the church to the hideout and they would give me money which I did and they gave me N140,000. They told me it was a simple job and when they mentioned the amount, it got into my brain and I forgot about the consequences,” he said.
The suspects, who would soon appear in court, said their respective fathers had abandoned them to their fate since they were arrested.
Meanwhile, security operatives, including the SSS and the police, have rescued a kidnapped victim, Mrs. Agatha Diden, who was abducted by an armed gang at about 7pm last Tuesday.
The gang, comprising six gunmen, had stormed her office on Nnebisi Road, Asaba and forced her into her Range Rover Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).
They were reported to have abandoned the SUV few metres from the Asaba International Airport and sandwiched her in their own Toyota Camry car before zooming off. They called her family later to demand a ransom of N50 million.
However, sources at the SSS said the hoodlums were trailed to their hideout where a gun duel ensued, leading to the kidnappers abandoning the woman. One pump action gun, loaded with four cartridges, a black bag containing seven AK 47 magazines, a pair of vehicle number plates and two pairs of screw drivers were recovered from the den of the kidnappers.
The victim, who is said to be receiving medical attention at an undisclosed hospital, is the wife of a commissioner in the Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Mr. Michael Diden.
Meanwhile, luck has run out of a middle-aged woman who was accused of involvement in the kidnapping of schoolchildren in Offa and surrounding communities in Kwara State, when she was caught right in the act. Angry youths descended on her, and almost lynched her to death but for the intervention of some elders in the community. After her rescue, the suspect was handed over to the Olofa of Ofa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, who subsequently handed her over to the police for further interrogation.
The incident, THISDAY gathered, happened Monday at Isale Ago area of Owode Market in Offa when the middle-aged woman was discovered to have kidnapped a pupil.
Excited about having caught somebody in connection with the frequent cases of kidnapping of schoolchildren, the Offa youths almost went wild in their determination to kill the woman.
It was also learnt that the woman confessed to the people that she is from Ede but she was based in Ilesa, Osun State, with other members of the syndicate. According to her, they sell their victims to those who need them for ritual purposes.
Palace sources also told reporters yesterday that the kidnap suspect was later handed over to the police Area Command in Omu Aran to take over the matter in view of the presence of protesters that had invaded the palace.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, Olufemi Fabode, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said he was yet to be briefed of the development, adding that the matter was yet to get to the command's headquarters in Ilorin.