Suspect: We Were Paid N5.4m to Release Babington Schoolgirls


Chiemelie Ezeobi

Contrary to impression that the three abducted schoolgirls of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary (BMJS) were released without ransom, THISDAY wednesday gathered that N5.4million was actually paid as ransom.

This disclosure was made by the mastermind of the kidnap, 38-year-old Felix Silva, who was arrested and paraded wednesday by the Lagos State Police Command.

The gang had initially demanded N100million as ransom for the three girls, but later reduced it to N20million and later N5.6million.

Apparently, they later settled for N5.4million and were waiting for the balance of N200,000 before they were arrested by the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (SIRT).
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said they swung into action and got the girls from a bridge at Ikorodu where the kidnappers had dumped them six days later.

The gang led by Silva and Emmanuel Arigidi, 37, who had since been arrested, had abducted three girls, Olusa Oluwatimilehin, Popo-Olaniyan Tofunmi and Akinayo Deborah, on March 3, 2016.
Although some of his gang members have been arrested months ago, Silva still remained elusive until he was finally nabbed after he coordinated the kidnap of a Chinese expatriate in Ajah, Lagos.
In his confessional statement, the suspect said they got the sum of N5.4 million as ransom for the release of the girls.

According to him, “They promised to pay N5.6m but eventually paid N5.4million. We were expecting them to pay the balance of N200, 000 but they didn’t. I got N300, 000 as my own share of the money.
“The first attempt we made was that the girl we got escaped from us so we left. But we were successful the second time. We bore a hole through one of the school fences. We went back the same way we came.
“When they did not see me, the police arrested my wife, my two children, my father and mother. I ran away when the police were on my trail.”

On the arrest of the mastermind of the kidnap of the three schoolgirls, Owoseni said the suspect is the leader of an armed-robbery and kidnapping syndicate.

He said the Edo State indigene led the armed robbery and kidnapping operations in Ikorodu, Epe in Lagos State and Ibafo axis in Ogun State until he was arrested last week.
The Lagos police boss said: “This man was also responsible for the kidnap of the rescued Chinese man within the Ajah axis three weeks ago.

“I can assure you that he will be arraigned before a court of law. The command will not rest on its oars as it will continue to utilise every strategy to fight criminality in the state.”